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Source free’d as first Android phone ships

Oct 21, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Google and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) announced the availability of the Linux-based Android SDK (software development kit) under an Apache 2.0 license. The announcement comes a day prior to expected retail availability of T-Mobile's G1, the first Android phone.

Since the initial Android announcement almost a year ago, Google and the OHA group supporting the Java-based mobile stack have said they would release Android as open source code. The Apache 2.0 license used by the project requires software “distributors” to make source code available, and shipping Android in a product certainly qualifies as “distribution.”

G1's Google desktop search bar, search results, and message view screens
(Click any to enlarge)

Meanwhile, all eyes are on tomorrow's expected retail release of HTC's G1 phone. The G1 phone, which reportedly has already sold out its first 1.5 million pre-orders, is based on a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A ARM processor. It offers 256MB of ROM and 192MB of RAM, and comes standard with a 1GB microSD card, but supports cards up to 8GB. The 3.17-inch touch-screen offers 480 x 320 resolution, and switches to landscape mode when the device's QWERTY keyboard is slid out. Other features include USB-ETX, WiFi, and Bluetooth radios. Early reviews have been positive, calling the phone a “worthy contender” to the iPhone.

The newly available Android SDKs are currently available for Linux and Mac OS development hosts. They are available from a new Android Open Source Project website featuring a variety of downloads and developer resources such as mailing lists and bug reporting tools. With the open source release and related tools, “anyone can download, build, and run the code needed to create a complete mobile device,” says the OHA, including “developers, OEMs, carriers, and code contributors.”

The majority of Android is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license, says the OHA. It adds however, “While the project will strive to adhere to the preferred license, there may be exceptions which will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For example, the Linux kernel patches are under the GPLv2 license with system exceptions.”

Stated Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms, Google, “Open source allows everyone and anyone equal access to the ideas and innovation that can make good products great.”

Android is available for free download, and should be available here

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