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Google Android SDK intros iPhone-like features

updated 01:35 pm EST, Mon November 12, 2007

Google Android SDK

Google today released its promised software development kit for Android, the company's new Linux-based operating system for cellphones and handheld devices. The utility allows developers to freely write programs that take advantage of all the hardware features of a given device or replace the most basic features; the dialing system and the front end can be replaced if a programmer likes, Google says. The search engine giant also stresses that all its most popular services are built-in and usable with third-party apps without requiring privileged access.

The default Android shell supports several more advanced hardware features by default, including Internet access over 3G networks, playback of AAC/MP3 songs and H.264/MPEG-4 video, and hardware 3D acceleration for games and 3D utilities such as a street view in Google Maps. A touchscreen control system is provided from Synaptics.

Conspicuously, the introduction also reveals influences from Apple in both the interface and in software. By default, the web browser is based on the WebKit rendering engine used by the iPhone and shares the same emphasis on rendering sites as they would appear on a computer. Devices with a touchscreen can similarly control pages by dragging and tapping, though Google does not say whether multi-touch devices are supported. Other touches include a Mac OS X-like dock interface for phones with keypad-only controls, a Cover Flow-like web browsing history view, and iPhone-style notification bubbles.

With the greater unveiling of the device, Google has also created prototypes of both conventional smartphones with QWERTY keyboards and a large, touchscreen-focused system with side buttons for some features. Neither is expected to become a shipping product for Google, which has not ruled out its own phone but for now is paying attention solely to upcoming phones from HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung that are expected in the second half of 2008.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2nd to last screen shot

    Are those iPhone icons?!?

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It looks and behaves more like OSX, especially the Dock and Cover-Flow like feature.

    I liked the 3D capability, but I definitely did NOT like the phone part. Although this is a good start, I think the iPhone is far from being dethroned.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Walking the line

    Watching the video it looks like the Android OS is very close to copying Apple's OS. The lower "dock" looks like Apple's Leopard dock when you move it to either the right or left. The icons make me think of the iPhone icons or those in the Mac OS. It seemed so similar to the iPhone and OS X that I thought when they were showing the browser they were going to pinch the page. Infact it almost looked like the guy started to do it, but then realized he was on camera or something and used whatever it was on the side to zoom in and out. Hey, I'm all for an open source phone OS, but don't rip Apple off in the process. What sucks about this is I like both Google and Apple and I think I might see them going at each other in the near future. Nice move on Google btw to leave off some iPhone like functionality that would clearly be a patent infringement for some third party to intro the pinch feature. It's funny to watch how some companies laughed at Apple's move into the phone market, while others learned from history and rushed products to market to prevent Apple from gaining an iPod like lead. In the end, competition is good for the consumer and I think Apple is up to it. Plus, it'll keep Apple on it's toes and keep their ego in check.

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