Google's cell phone strategy took shape Monday with the announcement of a new open software platform and an alliance of wireless heavyweights that will help form the development community for the planned phones.
Google has long been rumored to be working on software for cell phones that would integrate its applications. On Friday, CNET News.com reported that Google's plans went beyond simply developing software and instead included a whole consortium of companies working to develop an open platform cell phone application.
"Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks," Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement. "Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."
Google is officially unveiling Android, the new mobile phone software, during a press conference Monday morning. Thirty-four companies have said they will join the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance that will work on developing applications on the Android platform. Members of the alliance include mobile handset makers HTC and Motorola, U.S. operator, T-Mobile, and chip maker Qualcomm.
The Android platform consists of an operating system, middleware, a user-friendly interface and applications. Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008, Google said in a press release.
The Android software stack is expected to provide handset makers and wireless operators an open platform they can use to develop new and innovative applications. The new software will compete directly with smartphone software from other companies like Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm and Research in Motion. Unlike some of these mobile operating systems, Android will not be tied to a specific device. Instead, the software will be able to work on a broad array of devices from handset makes such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG just to name a few.
The idea is that through the developer's alliance, handset makers and cell phone operators will be able to develop more user-friendly services and devices that help bring more of the Internet functionality onto mobile devices. And because of this open model, the companies involved also hope that by scaling the development, advanced functionality will be able to hit the market for less expensive mobile devices that will have more compelling and rich Internet services with more user-friendly interfaces.
"Our participation in the Open Handset Alliance and integration of the Android platform in the second half of 2008 enables us to expand our device portfolio into a new category of connected mobile phones that will change the complexion of the mobile industry and re-create user expectations of the mobile phone experience." Peter Chou, CEO of HTC said in a statement.
Companies in the alliance plan on releasing an access software development kit next week.
Read on for the official Google press release.
Google Press Release
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.; BONN, Germany; TAOYUAN, Taiwan; SAN DIEGO, Calif.; SCHAUMBERG, Ill. (November 5, 2007) -- A broad alliance of leading technology and wireless companies today joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Google Inc., T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and others have collaborated on the development of Android through the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.
This alliance shares a common goal of fostering innovation on mobile devices and giving consumers a far better user experience than much of what is available on today's mobile platforms. By providing developers a new level of openness that enables them to work more collaboratively, Android will accelerate the pace at which new and compelling mobile services are made available to consumers.
With nearly 3 billion users worldwide, the mobile phone has become the most personal and ubiquitous communications device. However, the lack of a collaborative effort has made it a challenge for developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers to respond as quickly as possible to the ever-changing needs of savvy mobile consumers. Through Android, developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers will be better positioned to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. The end result will be an unprecedented mobile platform that will enable wireless operators and manufacturers to give their customers better, more personal and more flexible mobile experiences.
Thirty-four companies have formed the Open Handset Alliance, which aims to develop technologies that will significantly lower the cost of developing and distributing mobile devices and services. The Android platform is the first step in this direction -- a fully integrated mobile "software stack" that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008.
The Android platform will be made available under one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open-source licenses, which gives mobile operators and device manufacturers significant freedom and flexibility to design products. Next week the Alliance will release an early access software development kit to provide developers with the tools necessary to create innovative and compelling applications for the platform.
Android holds the promise of unprecedented benefits for consumers, developers and manufacturers of mobile services and devices. Handset manufacturers and wireless operators will be free to customize Android in order to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. Developers will have complete access to handset capabilities and tools that will enable them to build more compelling and user-friendly services, bringing the Internet developer model to the mobile space. And consumers worldwide will have access to less expensive mobile devices that feature more compelling services, rich Internet applications and easier-to-use interfaces -- ultimately creating a superior mobile experience.
Open Software, Open Device, Open Ecosystem "This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world. A fresh approach to fostering innovation in the mobile industry will help shape a new computing environment that will change the way people access and share information in the future," said Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt. "Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."
"As a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, T-Mobile is committed to innovation and fostering an open platform for wireless services to meet the rapidly evolving and emerging needs of wireless customers," said René Obermann, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile. "Google has been an established partner for T-Mobile's groundbreaking approach to bring the mobile open Internet to the mass market. We see the Android platform as an exciting opportunity to launch robust wireless Internet and Web 2.0 services for T-Mobile customers in the US and Europe in 2008."
"HTC's trademark on the mobile industry has been its ability to drive cutting-edge innovation into a wide variety of mobile devices to create the perfect match for individuals," said Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer, HTC Corp. "Our participation in the Open Handset Alliance and integration of the Android platform in the second half of 2008 enables us to expand our device portfolio into a new category of connected mobile phones that will change the complexion of the mobile industry and re-create user expectations of the mobile phone experience."
"The convergence of the wireless and Internet industries is creating new partnerships, evolving business models and driving innovation," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Qualcomm. "We are extremely pleased to be participating in the Open Handset Alliance, whose mission is to help build the leading open-source application platform for 3G networks. The proliferation of open-standards-based handsets will provide an exciting new opportunity to create compelling services and devices. As a result, we are committing research and development resources to enable the Android platform and to create the best always-connected consumer experience on our chipsets."
"Motorola has long been an advocate of open software for mobile platforms. Today, we're excited to continue this support by joining Google and others in the announcement of the Open Handset Alliance and Android platform. Motorola plans to leverage the Android platform to enable seamless, connected services and rich consumer experiences in future Motorola products," said Ed Zander, Chairman and CEO of Motorola, Inc.
Open Handset Alliance Founding Members
Aplix, Ascender Corporation, Audience, Broadcom, China Mobile, eBay, Esmertec, Google, HTC, Intel, KDDI, LivingImage, LG, Marvell, Motorola, NMS Communications, Noser, NTT DoCoMo, Inc., Nuance, Nvidia, PacketVideo, Qualcomm, Samsung, SiRF, SkyPop, SONiVOX, Sprint Nextel, Synaptics, TAT - The Astonishing Tribe, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Texas Instruments, T-Mobile, Wind River For more information about the Open Handset Alliance, visit the website at www.openhandsetalliance.com.
Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.
T-Mobile is one of the world's leading companies in mobile communications. As one of Deutsche Telekom's three strategic business units, T-Mobile concentrates on the most dynamic markets in Europe and the United States. Almost 112 million mobile customers were served by companies of the Deutsche Telekom group by June 30, 2007. The common technology platform is based on GSM, the world's most successful digital wireless standard. This also makes T-Mobile the only mobile communications provider with a seamless transatlantic service.
Founded in 1997, HTC Corp. (HTC) designs, manufactures and markets innovative, feature rich smartphones. Since its establishment, HTC has developed strong R&D capabilities, pioneered many new designs and product innovations and launched a broad portfolio of smartphones for mobile operators and distributors in Europe, the US and Asia. These devices are available as HTC products and as products individually customized for operator and device partners. HTC is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile device market. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit http://www.htc.com.
Qualcomm Incorporated (www.qualcomm.com) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on CDMA and other advanced technologies. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Qualcomm is included in the S&P 500 Index and is a 2007 FORTUNE 500® company traded on The Nasdaq Stock Market® under the ticker symbol QCOM.
Motorola is known around the world for innovation and leadership in wireless and broadband communications. Inspired by our vision of seamless mobility, the people of Motorola are committed to helping you connect simply and seamlessly to the people, information and entertainment that you want and need. We do this by designing and delivering "must have" products, "must do" experiences and powerful networks -- along with a full complement of support services. A Fortune 100 company with global presence and impact, Motorola had sales of US $42.8 billion in 2006. For more information about our company, our people and our innovations, please visit http://www.motorola.com.