Expatica news

Google shows off phone built using Android software

29 May 2008

SAN FRANCISCO – Google on Wednesday showed off one of the first working phones built using its open source Android software and announced an email pact with social networking site MySpace.

Google announced the moves at the company’s largest ever conference for outside software developers, which was seen as underscoring Google’s goal of integrating its services deep into third party websites.

Google also announced a new version of its powerful Google Earth programme that would allow third party sites to embed it on their web pages in the same way that Google Maps are used by over 150,000 websites.

The programme allows users to get a birds-eye view of the planet and fly over points of interest. Until now users had to download special software to use the programme, but the new version can be used through a browser.

The MySpace deal uses Google Gears to download mail messages and contact lists to the user’s machine where they can be stored, indexed and searched. The use of the Google tools is expected to be a huge boon to users of the social networking site’s mail system who until now had no efficient way of searching their emails.

Google’s demonstration of the Android gave important new details of the phone platform that it hopes will challenge Apple’s hit iPhone.

Google is making the software available as open source code that manufacturers can use for free and adapt to their particular devices. Google hopes the project will promote use of the internet on mobile phones and thus increase its opportunities to sell search ads.

In the demo Wednesday, Google engineers showed the phone automatically reorienting Google Maps to match the direction the user is facing. They also showcased a touch screen interface and a central notification service that can display new emails, missed phone calls and calendar appointments.

Google phone executive Andy Rubin reiterated the company’s projection that the first Android phones will ship in the second half of this year. He would not reveal which manufacturer made the phone used in Wednesday’s demonstration.

[dpa / Expatica]