Google Android Source-Code Released

Google have released the source code for the Android mobile platform, enabling any interested developer, OEM or bedroom tinkerer to not only try the Android OS but to adapt and improve it.  Until now, the Android SDK has been available only to select developers and testers, but as the first handset to use the platform, the T-Mobile G1, hits the market, Google has delivered on their promise to make the whole endeavour open-source.

Google are hoping that the increased access to platform code will drive development of software for Android, and close the gap between it and the iPhone/Windows Mobile/Palm OS environments and their already extensive app catalogs.  It also offsets some of the development responsibility.  Apple was criticised for the time it took to deliver iPhone features such as Microsoft Exchange support, and they still have not introduced copy & paste functionality; Android v.1 does not natively support Exchange either, but the flexibility for developers should mean it can be added far more quickly.

You can access the Android source-code at http://source.android.com/, together with documentation and support.  Make sure to check out Android Community, our sibling site, which has a thriving community of Android-addicts together with their exclusive review of the T-Mobile G1 smartphone.

Press Release:

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.