updated 01:05 pm EDT, Tue October 21, 2008
Android goes open-source
Google's Android software -- intended to provide a universal platform for cellphone development, while promoting Google services -- is now an open-source project, the company has announced. The move has been planned for some time, as it has long been the stated intention of the Open Handset Alliance, the industry organization backing Android. The platform's website now allows developers to explore and modify code at all levels, ranging from the bootloader to applications. The results can be shared and repurposed for use in future Android hardware.
Cellphone platforms have traditionally been highly segregated, divided between licensed operating systems such as Symbian and Windows Mobile, and sometimes further customized for individual phones or network operators. Android may in theory allow cheaper development, and proliferation of applications across multiple devices. It has also been perceived as a challenge to Apple's iPhone platform, which enjoys high popularity but is limited by closed distribution. The only shipping Android phone is the T-Mobile G1.