While dedicated hardware has yet to appear, some enthusiasts are already unofficially creating the first mobile devices running the new Android platform, by loading the Google-backed operating system onto existing Linux-based devices.
The first of these, by a Hungarian team called "EU Edge," detailed the process of getting the platform running on a Sharp Zaurus C760 on their web site in December, but the event only began to receive widespread notice in the last several days.
The technique has also been adapted by other enthusiasts for several other Linux devices from Sharp’s Zaurus line, including the C3000 and SL-6000 lines.
Not a Fully Functional Device
The usefulness of the hack is limited, however, as the current install process does not allow input from either the touchscreen or the keyboard, resulting in only the most basic functions being possible, using directional controls.
No Clear Indicator for Real Devices
It is unclear exactly when official Android-based devices will be available to the public, but major smartphone manufacturer HTC has committed to releasing multiple Android models this year, one of which is reputed to be already fully prototyped.
More About Android
Android is being put together by the Open Handset Alliance, a collection of 30+ companies, including Google, Intel, TI, Sprint, T-Mobile, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and Wind River.
This group is putting the finishing touches on this platform, which will consist of a Linux-based operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. Many of these are likely to tie into Google’s services, like Gmail and Google Maps.
Because this platform will be open source, the Alliance hopes it will be quickly extended to incorporate new technologies as they emerge.
In addition, it will be open to third-parties to create applications using Java.