Google have, as promised, released the Android source-code for their mobile platform. Timed to coincide with the launch of the T-Mobile G1, the first commercially released Android device, the source-code will allow developers and OEMs to create software and new devices. In addition, Google are hoping that the software community will feed back into the Android project, adding fresh functionality and driving platform innovation.
Until now, access to the Android SDK was limited to certain developers and testers; from now, however, it will available to anybody who wishes to download it. The move stands in complete contrast to Apple, whose iPhone OS is both a closed environment and a strongly guarded one. Google, however, are actively encouraging coders to manipulate, change and improve the Android source-code; indeed, some functionality, including on on-screen QWERTY keyboard, will not be present in Android v.1 out of the box, and require a third-party to develop.
You can access the Android source-code, together with documentation and support, at http://source.android.com/. Don't forget, if it's help with coding, ideas for what new features would be popular, or talk about Android and the G1 that you're looking for, you'll find it in the Android Community forums.
Google and the Open Handset Alliance Announce Android Open Source Availability
Today, Google and the Open Handset Alliance announced the availability of the Android platform source code to everyone, for free, under the new Android Open Source Project. This represents the first truly open and fully featured mobile platform which will enable people to create a mobile device without restrictions, build applications that run on Android powered devices, and contribute to the core platform.
As an open source project, anyone can contribute to Android and influence its direction. It means that anyone can download, build, and run the code needed to create a complete mobile device. With an open source platform, developers, OEMs, carriers and code contributors are given the opportunity to build faster, cheaper and more innovative devices and services.
Android is a complete, end-to-end software platform that can be adapted to work on any number of hardware configurations. Having an open source mobile platform will dramatically reduce the time and resources required to bring mobile devices to market. Handset manufactures can access a complete, full featured mobile stack without any barriers and get a head-start in creating as contemporary a device that they want to build. Developers for the first time can contribute code, with a full set APIs that allows the platform to host applications written by third-party developers and carriers can offer faster, cheaper and more innovative devices and services.
"Open source allows everyone and anyone equal access to the ideas and innovation that can make good products great," said Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms, Google. "An open sourced mobile platform, that's constantly being improved upon by the community and is available for everyone to use, speeds innovation, is an engine of economic opportunity and provides a better mobile experience for users.
With the availability of Android to the open source community, consumers will start to see more applications like location-based travel tools, games and social networking offerings available to them directly; cheaper and faster phones at lower costs; and a better mobile web experience through 3G networks with richer screens.
The code can be found under the Android Open Source Project, the open source initiative for Android now available at source.android.com.