Forming the Open Handset Alliance

With its user-centric, democratic design philosophies, Google has led a movement to turn the existing closely guarded wireless market into one where phone users can move between carriers easily and have unfettered access to applications and services.With its vast resources, Google has taken a broad approach, examining the wireless infrastructure from the FCC wireless spectrum policies to the handset manufacturers' requirements, application developer needs, and mobile operator desires.

Next, Google joined with other like-minded members in the wireless community and posed the following question:What would it take to build a better mobile phone?

The Open Handset Alliance (OHA) was formed in November 2007 to answer that very question.The OHA is a business alliance comprised of many of the largest and most successful mobile companies on the planet. Its members include chip makers, handset manufacturers, software developers, and service providers.The entire mobile supply chain is well represented.

Andy Rubin has been credited as the father of the Android platform. His company, Android Inc., was acquired by Google in 2005.Working together, OHA members, including Google, began developing a nonproprietary open standard platform based upon technology developed at Android Inc. that would aim to alleviate the aforementioned problems hindering the mobile community. The result is the Android project. To this day, most Android platform development is completed by Rubin's team at Google, where he acts as VP of Engineering and manages the Android platform roadmap.

Google's involvement in the Android project has been so extensive that the line between who takes responsibility for the Android platform (the OHA or Google) has blurred. Google hosts the Android open source project and provides online Android documentation, tools, forums, and the Software Development Kit (SDK) for developers.All major Android news originates at Google.The company has also hosted a number of events at conferences and the Android Developer Challenge (ADC), a contest to encourage developers to write killer Android applications—for $10 million dollars in prizes to spur development on the platform. The winners and their apps are listed on the Android website.

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