First off, robot names for projects are a good thing. Okay, I’ve got that out of the way. Android lives, and it seems like some of the more conservative guesses about what a Google Mobile OS should be are mainly right. It’s an application platform, not a piece of hardware (although reading into some of the announcements, it’s not entirely ruled out for the future). Its SDK will be available from the Android site in about a week, and the first new devices with it pre-installed with be on sale in the second half of 2008.
What is perhaps just as interesting is that it is the product of The Open Handset Alliance, which has a very intriguing list of members. Big players in terms of mobile carriers, and some big names in handsets, but no Nokia, or obviously Apple. If you then look at Opensocial, the Google-led social networking API, and the companies involved with that (basically Myspace and all the big players bar Facebook), that is a huge swathe of development that are now committed to doing things the Google way. Are there any more announcements due like this soon? These are not big things just yet, but insidiously they are both going to become rather important.
For a very good discussion of what Android might be, and why it might be so important, I’d strongly recommend listening to the latest episode of This Week in Tech. You’ll also find out why Robert Scoble’s wife left him.