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EEtimes Speculates on The Initial gPhone

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  • Print version (Score:3, Informative)

    by Simon (S2) (600188) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:32AM (#22272726) Homepage
    Here [eetimes.com] is the one page verision.
    • What is the deal with this Open Handset Alliance - I mean, how long do you think Google was talking to all these big companies for - because even into late fall last year the news and reports were all about some super secret G-Phone - like a real cell phone not just an OS - that was being manufactured in some undisclosed location and would turn the wireless world on its head. Does anyone know about when the handset alliance was created or even when Google, etc started talking ab an open OS for mobile not ju
  • I did some J2ME work for a customer years ago, and played with Android recently - looks good, and I very much like the idea of making advanced cellphone devices into a cheap commodity.
  • by PolarBearFire (1176791) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:48AM (#22272830)
    Anyone know the difference in terms of features between Android and the most current version of Windows mobile? I hope that the introduction of Android will spur all companies to introduce more and more innovations. The gPhone will be more of a competitor to smartphones that are NOT iPhones. iPhones are more of a status symbol and their users will not be really in the market for other phones. I like the iPhone because they are cool and do things that other phones can't match yet, but feature for feature they lose to other smartphones.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:08AM (#22272944)
      Windows CE allows you to develop in C++ or the .NET languages if you prefer. So far, Android only supports Java. This is annoying for someone like me, with a large C++ codebase targetting Win32, CE and Symbian as it means rewriting the application from scratch in a different language.

      There are some people experimentally bypassing the JVM, but AFAIK no-one has succeeded in making a GUI application which does this.
      • by kabz (770151)
        I recently tried to turn off the ringer on my father in-law's Blackberry. As soon as I failed, then my father in law failed, then my wife eventually worked it out, I knew that it sucked even worse than the Razr software, and that Win Mobile, great as it might be for embedded apps, is not the right solution for a phone.

        I think that if Google can make the Android stuff run crisply on phone hardware, then the ease of Java programming and nice GUIs will give Apple a run for their money.

        I'm not sure, though, tha
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The Blackberry also runs its own JVM OS, not Windows Mobile.
        • Handing over data (Score:2, Insightful)

          by MtHuurne (602934)

          I'm not sure, though, that I want to hand over *yet another* part of my life to Google. We all probably will though.
          From what I've seen, Android is very modular: it is designed to allow the user to replace an application by another application that serves the same purpose. So if you do not want to hand over your data to Google, you can just replace the applications that talk to Google's servers.
      • Yes, I can understand that you are annoyed if you have a lot of old C++ code, but Java is one of the most tought languages to todays students on universites around the world. These students are usually young people that may have other ideas on how to use their g-phones than those of us that started to use a computer back in days when C++ emerged on the scene.

        It is also much faster to develop an application in Java than in C++, unless of course you have a lot of old C++ that you could make use of. This mean
        • by Joe Tie. (567096)
          And it's even faster to write applications in python than java. Something that can be done fairly painlessly on windows mobile, but not android.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            I'm learning Java right now, and even though I love it, I also know it's not great for everything or everyones cup of tea. There is one thing that might help mitigate the gPhones jvm-only structure - bytecode. Jython lets you write your Python code and compile it into intermediate-level bytecode. Same for Ruby, and other languages.

            It might be a hassle, but I don't think that anyone with OOP training will have any problems adapting to the gPhone.
      • I don't know about you, but I code in C++ only when a feature I need cannot be implemented in .NET. If I could do everything in .NET that'd be great.

        I think the key to being a really good software developer is knowing the point at which you have to let go, because to cling on to old programming paradigms no matter how familiar and productive they may seem is only going to slow you down in the long run, with newer technologies offering faster development times (even with a steep learning curve).

        I'm s
    • by nguy (1207026) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @12:14PM (#22273364)
      Anyone know the difference in terms of features between Android and the most current version of Windows mobile?

      Android is the second phone platform by Rubin; his first platform was the Danger Hiptop [hiptop.com], also written in Java. You can get a good idea of how it works there: it's much more user friendly than Windows Mobile, and it does all its synchronization over the air.

      The biggest change is that Android is much more open: it will be open source, you can replace any part of the system you like, and do so safely. Most add-ons will likely be replacements of components (connection manager, file chooser, image chooser, etc.), rather than "applications". And, of course, synchronization will almost certainly be to Google's on-line services, with no desktop software required.
    • by HartDev (1155203)
      I had an iPhone for 4 months...all hacked out to run t-mobile and what not and then it had problems and I could not get anyone to help fix it for under $50/hr so I sold it. After using a windows mobile phone....I am seriously considering just getting an iPhone again and biting the AT&T bullet....but man they are so expensive as a cell phone company and they have deal for text messages to Mexico, but not Canada! But the iPhone has better use of features all around. I really hope the gPhone can match u
  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:02AM (#22272908) Homepage
    Speculation is for Digg. On /. I want news. These "insider idiots" know no more than you or I do. When they've got news I'll listen. Not when they're crying for publicity with speculation.
    • You should given them at least a little bit more credit than you are. It took time to write that article, and I highly doubt that it was all spent on the keyboard.
  • well its a long shot but i really think that motion sensitivity is the way smart phones should go.
    It Greatly amplifies a cameras abilities to take panoramic shots, scan documents, perhaps even allow for 3d images. It would also allow for films taken on phones to compensate for motion that is inevitable when using such a small device.
    It could also be useful for "advanced users" tweaking their UI, or allow average users to shake the device to go up levels in the interface. And it could be used to view/write d
  • These people are just blind. Just blind. They are enlisting features that have been in phones for many years and nowdays virtually all smartphones from Nokia to Sony-Ericsson carry most of them. My god just look at N95 [reghardware.co.uk], N82 [reghardware.co.uk], 6500 [reghardware.co.uk], N81 [reghardware.co.uk], E51 [reghardware.co.uk], E90 [wikipedia.org], E61 [wikipedia.org] and so on.. The market is full of smart phones with features that are just being dreamed to be included in gPhone, and this is just a list of one manufacturer, and a list that will in few weeks time be updated with new phone models again.

    I just really can't see

    • I have several Nokia phones. The hardware is wonderful: lots of features, great cameras, etc. Windows Mobile devices, too, have great hardware. The trouble is the software: Symbian sucks, both as a user interface, and as a development platform. It's slow, it's buggy, it's counterintuitive, the desktop software is a PITA, it has bad error messages, ... And Nokia knows it, which is why they bought Troll Tech.

      So, what does the gPhone do? It takes the great Windows Mobile hardware that companies like HTC
      • I'd speculate that Nokia has never user-tested their phones, at least not the one I have (E61). The thing simply does not work as advertised - and the UI is anti-intuitive. There is no consistency. Cut and paste is present in some apps and GUI elements, not others. You can shut down messaging by restarting it, but no other application works the same way. You can't tell the difference between a successful and unsuccessful attempt at connecting to the Internet. Leave email running in the background, and your
        • I don't think that Trolltech will help, unless they're given authority over the user experience. And existing Qtopia based devices don't indicated that things will completely improve over the miserable experience that Nokia currently provides.

          Yeah, I know what you mean. I've had a few of Qtopia devices, and while they were somewhat better than S60, they were nothing to write home about.

          The best UIs I have seen on mobile devices have been the the Hiptop, the iPhone, and Palm. And Hiptop 2.0 is effectively
    • by namityadav (989838) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @01:55PM (#22274210)
      Isn't HTC the world's largest smartphone maker [news.com]? At a very high level, there are not many REVOLUTIONARY features in the android platform. The growing interest that this platform is getting is because of:

      1. Software on the mobile devices / smartphones is usually terrible. Use any Symbian / Windows Mobile device for a few weeks and you will see how slow, counterintuitive, buggy and unintelligent the platform / user-interface is.

      2. Android platform has the potential to become THE Linux platform for smartphones. Although Linux didn't get as successful on the desktop as I was hoping, it did get tremendous support from the development community. Looking at the limited market-share that Linux has on the desktop, it is heart-warming to see how many developers are working to provide all kinds of amazing applications to the Linux user. You do not have that kind of community in the smartphone market yet (Although there are some people developing Symbian and WinMo applications). If Android turns out to be a genuine platform, then we can be rest assured that a huge community will develop applications for it. Having Java as the language of choice helps as well.

      3. One problem that Linux has on the desktop is that there are no big brand-names associated to it. Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows about Microsoft. And at least Tom and Dick know about Apple too. But none of them would be comfortable using Ubuntu or Fedora .. because of their unawareness. A Google platform called Android has a big brand-name. People trust Google .. in fact, more so than Microsoft. So, they won't worry about buying a Google Phone.

      4. The openness of the Android platform makes it a real possibility that the smartphones of the future will NO LONGER be crippled by the Telecom Service Providers. Even if they do, it will hopefully be easy enough to install a fresh Android platform on the phone. This is tremendous in itself.

      5. Google is an internet based company .. not desktop based. What does that mean to the smartphones? That means that we will no longer have the unnecessary tie-ups of the smartphones to the desktop. Those of you who have used smartphones enough know what I am talking about.

      6. Never before have so many manufacturers and telecom service providers been brought together. And thanks to the potential of Android and the companies supporting it, and thanks to the iPhone, there's a good chance that the smartphone will finally become a commodity.
  • Old news (Score:3, Informative)

    by imasu (1008081) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @12:11PM (#22273342)
    FTA: This story originally appeared on Nov. 13, 2007. So it's not just pure speculation, it's a reprint of (old) pure speculation.
  • OpenLaszlo (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @12:46PM (#22273644) Homepage Journal
    Sun now has Orbit [java.net], which is a GUI layer atop JME (which is the mobile phone multimedia Java) that runs OpenLaszlo LZX code. Android ran around Sun to make its own JVM, Dalvik [wikipedia.org], but its DEX files directly correspond to Java bytecodes, and can be automatically generated by a tool in the Android SDK.

    OpenLaszlo can also be compiled into SWF (Flash) and DHTML. But the JME itself is also included in every Blu-Ray player (now the only HD disc format) as BD-J [wikipedia.org]. And JME is also the execution environment for DVB [wikipedia.org], OCAP [wikipedia.org]/ACAP [wikipedia.org].

    OpenLaszlo can target what looks like the most complete range of devices, all from a single codebase. Is that the future of all GUI programming as the "convergence" finally comes together? Is all other programming going to be used "under the hood" on servers, and by "plastic surgeons" tweaking all that generated code into working properly on every device it gets tested on, once it's "written once"?

    And where's the OpenLaszlo GUI IDE already?
    • by MtHuurne (602934)
      MHP is based on Java SE, not Java ME. It's based on Personal Java, which is a smaller version of Java 1.1. This was created before Sun invented J2ME/J2SE/J2EE, which are based on Java 1.2 (aka Java2). As far as I know, they did some cleanups of the API when creating the GEM spec, but BD-J is still based on Java SE.
  • Is an OS. Sure it'll be phones with and w/o GPS, with and w/o touch screen etc. The platform is prepared for all that, it supports accelerometer, compass ( here [google.com]); and any other thing that can appear, is easy to manage from the platform. Nothing to envy to iPhone software, sliders boxes (like combo boxes) already has the behavior of "slide" as the iPhone and it already plays videos and sounds in mp3 (on others) format. Now, what "GPhones" (hate that word) will give you, will vary in function of what hardware
  • by enjo13 (444114) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @01:46PM (#22274146) Homepage
    The Android team has put out an SDK complete with emulator. They've held campfire events where they've disclosed details about their plans, and this article manages to get it wrong on almost every point.

    For intance: the web-browser is based on Webkit (same as the iPhone) not Opera. In this sense Google 'owns' the browser they are developing. You can get that little gem of information from about 30 seconds of reading on the main android page (http://code.google.com/android).

    GPS: While we fully expect most phones to have GPS on the phone, it's not a guarantee. Although all phones will support location via tower-triangulation, so every phone should have some level of location support. Something the article should probably mention.

    Processor: The Android team has been forthcoming about the fact that they are developing the system to be more or less platform independent. Right now they have everything up and running only on ARM cores (OMAP included). They are providing multimedia support via acceleration interfaces (OpenGL ES), which means that yes it should run very well on an OMAP processor... but there is little preventing another architecture from being put into use. I fully expect to see OMAP gPhone's, but that is unlikely to be the only configuration in the wild.

    Overall, the article was light on research. Very little meat here, and most of what they speculated about was just wrong.

  • I've heard from a source at a carrier that HTC is planning on launching an Android based phone with T Mobile in the US in Q4 2008 and that the device will be Google branded.

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