Google’s Android: Lots of Hype, Plenty of Promise

As expected, there was a lot of noise about Google’s upcoming Android mobile platform in Barcelona over the past couple of days. The Linux-based operating system that promises a new world of easier application development, faster time to market and cool new handset features, has had the support of more than 30 mobile industry players since it was first announced late last year.

At the Mobile World Congress, prototype devices were demo’d, processors running the software were shown off and a lot of promises about Android-based gizmos were made.

There’s even a quick video of an Android demo at the show on YouTube.

To see what everyone’s talking about, click continued.

CNET’s’s Marguerite Reardon was lucky enough to get a private demo of the Android software courtesy of mobile processor core maker ARM, whose technology goes into chips from TI and others. The ARM demo used a BlackBerry-looking prototype and, according to Reardon, displayed an interface that looked like that of a typical feature phone. Apparently, all the really cool stuff is on the back-end for application developers and handset makers.

PC World’s Sascha Segan also reported from Barcelona on Android’s debut, describing the Mobile World Congress as the platform’s “coming-out party.” Present at the shindig were demos from Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Marvell, displaying the software on both touchscreen- and keyboard-based devices.

eFlux Media was underwhelmed by the Android devices on display, saying they’d “fail to impress consumers.” Of course, they are all prototypes from companies more focused on processors than on handset design so we should cut them a little slack.

Coming from Reuters was a report on LG’s promise to have an Android-based handset on the market within the next 12 months or so. “We will bring it out late in 2008 or early 2009,” Chang Ma, LG’s VP of marketing strategy told Reuters. HTC, which was one of the first handset makers to come out with an iPhone clone, has already said it will have an Android device available by the end of this year.