Android handset makes appearance at Google London Developer Day

Google brought along what was described as a working Android cellphone "for the first time in Europe" at the London Google Developer Day earlier this morning.  Although the handset's branding was covered, those present at the event described it as looking " very much like the HTC Dream" and being "far more polished" than engineering samples we've seen previously. It also saw Android's Mike Jennings reaffirm that the platform was not just for cellphones. When asked by a developer whether the open-source OS could be loaded on devices other than mobile handsets, he replied "why not?"   The software demonstration given included an OpenGL and Java app that could render, on the Android handset itself, a rotating and morphing cube at an impressive 40 frames per second. Google also confirmed that users would be able to update the OS on their device themselves, likely through a USB connection rather than over the air.  Gears for Mobile was also discussed, with the system now having a geolocation API that should tie into Android's location-specific functionality. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmniBnVB6wA[/youtube] [Thanks Alan!]

WSJ confirms T-Mobile Android announcement Sept. 23rd

T-Mobile are within days of announcing the Android-powered G1, aka the HTC Dream, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Sources talking to the paper have confirmed that the carrier is likely to unveil the open-source device on September 23rd, having escaped the delays that other companies working with Google on Android cellphones are experiencing. Although the carrier itself declined to comment, "people familiar with the matter" told the WSJ that the G1 would likely be in stores by the end of October.  T-Mobile have not released sales predictions, but HTC are - according to another source close to the situation - expecting to ship between 600,000 and 700,000 of the G1. That estimate is as much as double the figure analysts have previously suggested, with project backers confident that the G1 can take sales from rivals such as the iPhone 3G and RIM's BlackBerry range.  The WSJ does not suggest pricing, but earlier leaks indicated a $199 preorder tag for existing T-Mobile customers.

Android Firmware 1.0 found at CTIA: Video Demos

At CTIA Wireless 2008, Qualcomm had one phone on display that lacked significant signage. Turns out, the phone appeared to be running Android firmware version 1.0, which confirms some of our suspicions about release dates. So in order to walk away with some proof, we got some great footage of the OS in action. Full video walkthroughs of the browser, IM client, the game Quake and more follow.   The device used couldn't access a 3G signal and was not designed with Android in mind. But even in that worse case scenario with a D-pad and EDGE speeds, Android performed like a champ. It looked great on the VGA resolution screen and all the menus loaded super fast. And even though we couldn't load up the IM client, the browser flew. Based on the same tech as the desktop browser, Chrome, Google seems to have left a Flash plugin out of this mobile browser. At least for now. Check out the videos below and you'll see that Android is just about ready for the public. And we should be seeing it pretty soon. September 23 is a date we keep hearing and that may very well be the day the world learns about Android. Android Browser Demo Part I [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng_tfGOS-6s[/youtube] Android Browser Demo Part II [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J63wbnSU7-A[/youtube] Android IM Client First-Look [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slDZgB-IvJc[/youtube] Quake on Android Demo [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0DZ8-CPb5s[/youtube] Calling an iPhone with an Android phone [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP8fjJt_i4w[/youtube] YouTube Interface on Android Lacks Flash [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Am_jJemrLM[/youtube] Settings Menu for Firmware 1.0 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma58nGfV24Y[/youtube] [via SlashGear]

Big in Japan Exclusive Video Interview

Android Community had an invite to spend some time with developers Big in Japan, the team behind GoCart which was one of the ten apps to win $275,000 in Google's Android Developer Challenge.  Ewdison Then, our resident Linux expert, made the trip over to their Dallas offices to ask them about the motivation behind GoCart, why the team decided to focus on Android, and what most excites them about the platform and its future.
"Finally people are going to think of their phones as something more than a way to talk to their friends" Rylan Barnes, Big in Japan
GoCart is a mobile shopping comparison app, that uses the camera on an Android device to scan a product's barcode. Once recognized, the app checks pricing for the product in online stores; however, it also uses GPS to find local stores and query their inventory, offering alternative places to shop if you're not willing to wait for delivery. Alternatively, users can set a price band they'd be willing to pay, and choose to be alerted when the product drops to that price.
"The Android platform, being open, really creates a lot of opportunities for us, where you can decide what you want the phone to look like: is it a phone or an internet device? Really that line becomes blurred with the Android platform. With the iPhone platform, it's a really closed environment that's really neat - it's a phone, and it does really neat things - but you have to play by Apple's rules, and Apple's rules say "right now, you can't touch the camera", the SDK doesn't let you manipulate that. There're all sorts of things that you can't necessarily do with the iPhone platform" Alexander Muse, Big in Japan
In the interview, Ewdi and the Big in Japan team discuss Android versus Apple SDKs, how they see the platform benefiting from having Google behind it, and the problems an open-source, multi-device OS faces in trying to stand up to a more managed environment like the iPhone. They also touch on the possibility of carriers and device manufacturers creating their own custom Android builds, and what impact that could have on code development. Our thanks again to the Big in Japan team for the invite. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWngmkwXaAM[/youtube]

Android imminent, T-Mobile key partner confirms Rubin

Andy Rubin, Google's director of mobile platforms, has confirmed that the first Android-based handset is in "the final stages" and almost ready for the presumed September 23rd release.  Despite the open-source credentials of the project, Rubin described Google's approach as having "put our blinders on" to focus on creating a single device that would definitely impress consumers.
"If we come out with a dud, people will go, 'Well, that was a waste of time"" Andy Rubin, director of mobile platforms, Google
Rubin also confirmed that Google have worked almost exclusively with HTC and carrier T-Mobile, lending further weight to the suspicions that the carrier will be the first to support the handset - believed to be called the G1.  According to the report, Google purposefully decided not to release a swathe of devices on multiple carriers as their first entry to the market, as this would allow tighter control over hardware and software.
"Google wanted to make sure that we had enough control over the hardware to make sure the software worked" Andy Rubin
Contrary to Apple's approach with the AppStore, however, Google will not be looking to enter into revenue sharing with its own Android Marketplace.  The proceeds from software distributed via the on-device download service will be shared between developers and carriers.
"We made a strategic decision not to revenue share with the developers. We will basically pass through any revenue to the carrier or the developer" Andy Rubin
Rubin also mentioned the part the company's new Chrome browser will play on Android devices, suggesting that mobile users would have access to a "Chrome Lite or Chrome To Go or Chrome Mobile".  The Android version will be based on the same underlying technology as the desktop app, only formulated for smaller displays.  There has been some suggestion that, as iTunes is to the iPhone, Chrome on the desktop will become the gateway to synchronizing with the mobile devices; however Rubin did not comment on this possibility.

Apps-for-Android gets 3 new code samples: graphics & download

Android developer Jack Palevich has released three new open-source samples on the official project blog, two giving insight on how best to implement the OpenGL ES 3D graphics APIs, while the last is an example of a downloader.  Triangle is, according to Palevich, the "Hello World" of OpenGL ES apps, and is a simple use of the GLView class and the OpenGL ES 3D library in creating a spinning, textured triangle. SpriteText adds to that, with the inclusion of screen-aligned text:
"SpriteText contains a reusable LabelMaker class for drawing static text and screen-aligned images, as well as a Projector class for finding the 2D screen coordinates corresponding to a 3D point, and a MatrixTrackingGL class for keeping track of the current transformation matrix. Finally, it shows how to use these classes to display a milliseconds per frame counter. A ms/f counter can be helpful for tuning graphics performance" Jack Palevich, Android Developers Blog
Finally, Downloader is an example of a file download system that could be added to the start of any new Android app.  It automatically downloads any number of files from an XML configuration document stored on a named web server, and would be useful in situations where there is more local data than can fit into an .apk file. The code is available to download and experiment with now.  Click to discuss now in Android Community. [gallery]

Android phone on T-Mobile; announcement is coming

The T-Mobile unit from Deutsche Telekom is gearing up to roll out the first Android-based phone ever and it looks as if an announcement will be coming this month. Could the ever elusive HTC Dream really make its debut in as soon as a week or two?   According to "people familiar with the matter," both Google and T-Mobile will make the announcement sometime this month in New York City. The specific date seems to be hovering around September 23. Of course, neither Google nor T-Mobile were willing to comment on the matter, so that usually means the info is pretty close to the mark. Can you feel the excitement? Announcement day is getting close, folks! [via Yahoo! News]

SKU codes confirm first Android phone is close to launch

With all of the leaks and tidbits coming out about Android and the "Dream" phone, it's enough to make anyone's head spin! But if you're looking for more solid evidence that this new mobile operating system is truly coming soon, check out the screenshot below of SKU codes. This confirms not only that the first phone (ever!) to have Android is coming out soon. It also confirms that the phone will be available in three colors: black, brown and white. Okay, so that's not so exciting, but what is exciting is that the G1 will be released super soon. You may notice the highly anticipated Android phone is dubbed the G1 in the SKUs, however the FCC documents call it the Dream. It's hard to say why the double monikers keep persisting, but one thing is for certain: all will be revealed very soon. [via TmoNews]

Android Gizmondo in the future?

Gizmondo seems pretty keen on the idea of Android coming to their device. The Linux-based mobile operating system has been in the works for quite some time, but expectations are high that it will do well and Gizmondo is certainly paying attention.   Since Android is very flexible and many have already gotten a taste via the free SDK, an Android version of the Gizmondo may already be in the works! And check out this quote:
"We are excited about the potential of Android and have been working on an Android version of the Giz...Android would be a TERRIFIC addition to the Gizmondo and enable a TON of open source development." - Rich Jenkins CEO Media Power Inc.
And though older Gizmondos may have trouble updating, new ones could revive the device by maintaining its commitment to being open source and allowing fresh content to make an appearance. [via Gizmondo Forums]

T-Mobile UK rumored to get G1 Dream in November

UK newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that T-Mobile UK will be the exclusive carrier to supply the HTC Dream aka G1 in the country, with the Android-based smartphone set to go on sale as early as November.  While the sources of the news are unclear, the basic premise is believable.  Google has committed to Android devices being available in Q4 2008, and T-Mobile is believed to be preparing to sell the G1 in the US. No suggestion has been made of the handset's price, or whether specific tariffs will be rolled out for data access. T-Mobile UK currently offer a "web'n'walk" package for unlimited on-device mobile internet access, priced from £7.50 a month ($13). T-Mobile USA is rumored to offer two plans for the G1, one at $35 providing unlimited data & messaging, and a cheaper $25 plan that includes 400 messages. [via Talk Android]
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