If it were up to Google, Inc., there would be an Android powering every handset in the world, and the search engine juggernaut is willing to put $10 million on the line to make it happen in what is dubbed the Android Developer Challenge. To that end, the Open Handset Alliance announced that it has released a developers' toolkit (SDK) for Android, the new
operating system, so coders could begin developing software for Android-powered phones of the future. And, to provide further incentive, the Android Developer Challenge was announced, which will hand out $10 million to the winning Android developers.
Google's Android SDK contains various tools for developing, testing, and debugging applications that are intended for handheld devices. Among the suggested types of Android software sought by the Open Handset Alliance project are those involved in: Social networking, media consumption, management, editing, or sharing, e.g., photos, productivity and collaboration such as email, IM, calendar, etc., gaming, news and information, location-based services, and more.
While Google's Android has received a heap of publicity, now boosted by today's release of the Android SDK and the $10 million Android Developer Challenge, Google's chief competitor, Microsoft, has tried to downplay Android's significance. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly told the Tokyo press, "Google is not ahead of us," Ballmer claimed.
On the other hand, several major mobile service providers and handset manufacturers are backing the Android platform, including HTC Corporation, LG Electronics, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and others.
But, a development platform is only as exciting as the software written for it. That's why the $10 million Android Developer Challenge is so key to Android's success: Cutting edge handheld devices coupled with exciting new applications could signal the beginning of a Google-influenced, Android-based future for mobile devices. Google shareholders, rejoice!