Android is Google’s new Java mobile phone SDK. The idea is a common API and sort of cross compiler to be able to port to the variety of different mobile devices.
It looks like they use a custom branch of the Apache OpenJDK fork, an eclipse plugin with mobile device simulator, and a tool that takes java bytecode and transforms it to native code for the target device. I’m not really into mobile development, but of course it’d be fun if I ever had the time. And Android’s the big buzz on the internet this week.
The application market for mobile devices is potentially huge, but still strangled by the proprietary hold carriers and manufacturers have. Every so often a handheld Linux device comes out, get’s press, and then fizzles because no matter how cool it is, if you can’t make phone calls, or get music and games from the distributors, it’s really just a toy.
Android is an attempt to work around it from the other way, via the application development software. If this works, manufacturers & carriers will end up being more concerned about not breaking Android compatibility in order to have access to the open marketplace of applications, the way manufacturers want to be sure their hardware works with windows. Even if not, it just takes updating one “driver” to gain access to all the Android apps.