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Today’s world of computing continues to become increasingly personal and more accessible. At the forefront of this development are handheld devices capable of general-purpose computing. Mobile phones are no longer just for talking—they can carry data and video. Offering Internet services over mobile devices dates back to the mid-1990s and the Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML). However, only in recent years have phones capable of Internet access taken off. Now, thanks to trends like text messaging and products like Apple's iPhone, phones that serve as Internet-access devices are gaining rapid popularity.

From here battle lines between operating systems, computing platforms, programming languages, and development frameworks are shifted and reapplied to mobile devices with the top dog being Apple’s iPhone. But, as a wave of competing smartphones flood the market, who are the other top contenders out there? That is where Android devices come in as a rival to the iPhone’s market domination. Google’s Android platform, as a technology, has matured beyond its initial stab in the dark. With the recent announcement of NexusOne, the Android-based phone from Google, it is a force to contend with. 2010 may be the year of the dogfight between Google and Apple for mobile phone domination.

Let’s look at how Google’s Android arrived in the mobile operating system (OS) landscape. Sayed Hashimi, Satya Komatineni, and Dave MacLean, co-authors of Apress’s latest book "Pro Android 2" have provided a detailed outline of the rise of the Android platform:

* In 2005, Google acquired the startup company Android Inc. to start the development of the Android Platform.

* In 2007, a group of industry leaders came together and formed the Open Handset Alliance. Prominent members include Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, Vodafone, Google, Intel, and Texas Instruments. Part of the Open Handset Alliance’s goal is to innovate rapidly and respond better to consumer needs, and its first key outcome was the Android Platform. The Android platform was designed to serve the needs of mobile operators, handset manufacturers, and application developers.

* In November 2007, the Android Software Developers Kit (SDK) was first issued as an “early look” release.

* In September 2008, T-Mobile announced the availability of T-Mobile G1, the first smartphone based on the Android platform. A few days after that, Google announced the availability of Android SDK Release Candidate 1.0.

* In October 2008, Google made the source code of the Android platform available under Apache’s open source license.

* In late 2008, Google released a handheld device called Android Dev Phone 1 that was capable of running Android applications without being tied to any cell phone provider network. The goal of this device (at an approximate cost of $400.00) was to allow developers to experiment with a real device that could run the Android OS without any contracts.

* In September 2009, Android OS 1.6 was released and, within a month, Android 2.0 followed, facilitating a flood of Android devices in time for the 2009 Christmas season.

Android has attracted an early following because of its fully developed features to exploit the cloud-computing model offered by web resources and to enhance that experience with local data stores on the handset itself. Android promises openness, affordability, open source code, and a high-end development framework.

About "Beginning Android 2"
The Android development platform, created by Google and the Open Handset Alliance, is a platform in its truest sense, encompassing hundreds of classes beyond the traditional Java classes and open source components that ship with the SDK. With "Beginning Android 2," you’ll learn how to develop applications for Android 2.x mobile devices, using simple examples that are ready to run with your copy of the SDK. "Beginning Android 2" will show you what you need to know to get started programming Android applications, including how to craft GUIs, use GPS, and access web services.

About the Author
Mark Murphy is the founder of CommonsWare and the author of The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development. A three-time entrepreneur, his experience ranges from consulting on open source and collaborative development for Fortune 500 companies to application development on just about anything smaller than a mainframe. He has been a software developer for over 25 years, working on platforms ranging from the TRS-80 to the latest crop of mobile devices. Mark writes the "Building Droids" column for AndroidGuys and the "Android Angle" column for NetworkWorld.


About "Pro Android 2"
The age of Web 2.0 smart mobile phones and handsets is here. First there was the BlackBerry, then there was the iPhone, and now … there’s Google, with its Android Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) and platform, and its hardware partners in the Open Handset Alliance. "Pro Android 2" shows you how to build real-world and fun mobile applications using Google’s Android SDK. This book covers everything from the fundamentals of building applications for embedded devices to advanced concepts such as custom 3D components. With Android and this book, you’ll be able to build mobile applications ranging from games to Google apps, including add-ons to Google Docs. You’ll be able to extend and run the new Google Chrome APIs on the G1, the G2, and other next-generation Google phones and Android-enabled devices.

About the Authors
Sayed Y. Hashimi is the author of "Pro Android," as well as a consultant and trainer in Jacksonville, Florida. Sayed has worked for startups and Fortune 100 companies. He has developed large-scale distributed applications with a variety of programming languages and platforms, including C++, Java, and .NET. Sayed has published in major software journals on topics ranging from low-level programming techniques to high-level architecture concepts.

Satya Komatineni has been programming for over 20 years in the IT and Web space. He has had the opportunity to work with Assembly, C, C++, Rexx, Java, C#, Lisp, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, SVG, Relational databases, Object databases and related technologies. He has published over 30 articles touching many of these areas in both in print and online. Satya holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, India, and a Bachelors degree in electrical engineering from Andhra University, India.

Dave MacLean is a software engineer and architect currently living and working in Jacksonville, FL. He has programmed in many languages since 1980 developing systems ranging from robot automation systems to data warehousing, web self-service applications to EDI transaction processors.