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 As the industry expected Google to release its own mobile device for calling using Google Talk, receiving email using Gmail and browsing the web with the help of Google search system, the Internet giant released an open-source operating system (OS) called Android and formed Open Handset Alliance with several handset makers. The initiative will move Google into cell phones and will broaden its market share and influence eventually.

“Despite all of the very interesting speculation over the last few months, we’re not announcing a Gphone. However, we think what we are announcing – the Open Handset Alliance and Android – is more significant and ambitious than a single phone. In fact, through the joint efforts of the members of the Open Handset Alliance, we hope Android will be the foundation for many new phones and will create an entirely new mobile experience for users, with new applications and new capabilities we can’t imagine today,” said Andy Rubin, Google’s director of mobile platforms.

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 is predicted to be a mobile platform that will enable wireless operators and manufacturers to give their customers better, more personal and more flexible mobile experiences.

The search giant describes its Android platform as a fully integrated mobile “software stack” that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. Google did not unveil actual functionality of its Android operating system for mobile devices, but it is logical to expect the new OS to integrate functionality that Google currently offers with its GTalk, GMail, Google Earth, Google Video and other services.

Google, 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. In total, the new alliance is supported by 34 companies.

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.

Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008.

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