Mobile phone users are basically stuck with phone models offered by major wireless carriers – often choosing between devices offering only a subset of the desired features and the most expensive models. The situation improved when Apple unveiled the revolutionary iPhone and Verizon stepped up to the plate allowing any device to connect to its network – but unless you use AT&T for an iPhone or have a device ready for Verizon, nothing has really changed.
The Open Handset Alliance hopes to change that limitation by creating innovative strategies for handset makers to create what customers want more efficiently. Part of that strategy includes the Android software environment championed by Google. First announced last November, Android is a "software stack" designed to handle telephony operations while providing an operating environment for customized, user applications. Android was first demonstrated on Qemu, a processor emulation package. In a short matter of time, hardware enthusiasts have already added patches and ported the Android system onto existing ARM based devices. Expectations are high for an OpenMoko port to be revealed soon. With such a global interest in Android development, it may only be a matter of time before consumers have the option of freeing their mobiles from vendor lock.
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