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Google Releases Complete Android Open Source Project

Android is viewed as a way to escape the strictures of more tightly controlled mobile platforms like Apple's iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry.

Google on Tuesday released the Android Open Source Project, the complete source code for its mobile phone platform.

"We've all put a lot of effort into the first Android device, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out," said Google software engineer Dave Bort in an online post. "But one device is just the beginning. Android is not a single piece of hardware; it's a complete, end-to-end software platform that can be adapted to work on any number of hardware configurations. Everything is there, from the bootloader all the way up to the applications. And with an Android device already on the market, it has proven that it has what it takes to truly compete in the mobile arena."

Google is making the Android code available just as the first Android mobile phones reach customers.

T-Mobile plans to begin selling the fist Android-based mobile phone, the HTC T-Mobile G1, at its 699 Market Street store in San Francisco on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PDT. Other T-Mobile locations plan to offer the G1 on Wednesday at 8 a.m. PDT.

And next year, Sprint is expected to offer an Android mobile phone and Motorola plans to make at least one.

Among supporters of open source software, Android is viewed as a way to escape the strictures of more tightly controlled mobile platforms like Apple's iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry. As one person posting on the Google Android Developers forum on Google Groups put it, "Today is a great day for developers who enjoy freedom and developing with freedom in mind."

A report released earlier this month by ABI Research, titled "Smartphone And OS Markets," argues that the Android platform could help standardize smartphones and increase smartphone market share beyond the current 14%.

Google and members of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of carriers, handset makers, and other vendors committed to the Android platform, stand to benefit if more people move from using phones primarily for voice and text communication to browsing the Internet and using mobile-oriented applications.

Google has reported that iPhone users generate many times more mobile search traffic than users of other phones and it foresees a promising revenue stream from mobile search ads and application use. Its hope is that Android phones, with a host of newly developed mobile applications, will be a part of that future.

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