Introducing the first Android prototype –

A post on Mashable brought this to my attention. It should be no surprise that a CA Linux startup, A La Mobile, is the first to offer a suite of apps based on Android, Google’s mobile platform. Let’s hope open source can play an increasingly important role in the mobile and handheld scene. I’m interested to see what Android looks like. Googleis pushing hard to become the backbone of all our connectivity; I’m suspicious of their methods. The licensing issues in Android are fuzzy. Based on the Linux 2.6 kernel and other code released under various open source licenses, Android can never be “nailed down tight”, a condition Morgan Gillis claims is necessary for adoption by handset makers.

What we need next is clear to me: an open source hardware platform for mobile devices. The PC was open sourced by IBM in the 80’s, allowing other manufacturers, large and small, to offer competing designs. This was the single biggest factor in the success of the technology. Now, one of these mobile hardware companies with deep pockets needs to step up and release a design spec that can be developed openly.

Why can’t I purchase or build my own mobile device and choose my own OS and applications, select a carrier and enjoy communicating my way? Why do the carriers and handset makers dictate what my mobile communication experience will be? Wait a minute, I have an idea for a new project!

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I’ve been hacking on personal computers since 1982 and on electronic toys since I built my first AM radio as a boy (196?). That means two things: I’m old, and I know a thing or two about technology. But I must admit, I’m somewhat overwhelmed by the crop of youngsters who are growing up with a cell phone, iPod, and [insert latest hip social networking site] as their standard communication tools. I still can’t figure out how to use that damnable auto text mode on my phone. I am just now learning about sites like Twitter and Utterz, that use SMS technology to link the Web, Instant Messaging, and cell phones. Continue reading