On November 5th, 2007 leading technology and wireless companies came together to announce the future development of a truly open platform for all kinds of mobile devices – Android. Leading this development are Google Inc., T-Mobile, Intel, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola along with many other companies under the umbrella of the Open Handset Alliance – a global alliance between technology and mobile industry leaders.
The Open Handset Alliance’s common goal is to foster and develop a new breed of innovation for mobile devices allowing a far better user experience than today’s current mobile platforms. The OHA will provide a far greater degree of openness that will enable developers to work and collaborate in ways never before seen, Android will greatly improve and speed up the process in which new and innovative mobile services are development and made available to the end user.
Through the development of Android, developers, manufacturers and operators will be far better positioned to ship out new and innovative products far quicker and far cheaper than todays standards. The Android platform will consist of an operating system, middleware, a user-friendly interface and powerful applications. This fully integrated bundle of software will significantly lower the current costs of developing mobile devices and services.
The Android platform is licensed under one of the most progressive open-source licenses available giving operators and manufacturers unprecedented freedom to design, build and distribute their own products.
What can an Android phone do?
Android phones are highly customizable and as such can be altered to suit your tastes and needs. You can check your Facebook and Twitter profiles through a variety of apps making it ideal for social networking. Through the calendar you can set reminders from your desktop or your phone and on the latest version of Android you can send links to and from your computer and vice versa.
Another neat feature of Android is that it automatically backs up your contacts for you. When you set up an Android phone you’ll need to create a Google Account or sign in with an existing one. Every time you save a number to the address book of your Android phone it will be synced to your Google Account.
The benefit of this is if you lose your phone all of your numbers will be saved. The next time you get an Android phone and sign in with your Google Account, all of your contacts and friends numbers will be displayed in your new phone’s address book.
There is a huge range of apps and games available to download from the Android Market. There are camera apps that allow you to take pictures with artistic effects and filters on them and music players which allow you to import MP3s from your and create playlists.
You can customize the appearance of your Android phone with a number of wallpapers based on pictures you’ve taken yourself or downloaded from the web.
There are also various on screen widgets to download which allow you to access and reconfigure the settings of your phone. You can pretty much create your own system of shortcuts and menus to suit you.
How can I get apps on an Android phone?
The majority of Apps are downloaded from the Android Market (the equivalent of Apple’s iTunes App Store). Most of these are free but there are some premium apps as well that you’ll have to pay for.
You’ll have to set up an account with Google Checkout in order to pay for apps. You can pay either by debit or credit card. This takes less than five minutes to set up and is best done from your computer.
Some developers choose to make their apps available to download freely outside the Android Market and directly from their own sites. In order to download these you’ll have to change some settings on your phone before visiting the site on your Android phone’s web browser.
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