Make Contact

John Burdette Gage, the fifth employee of Sun Microsystems, is often credited with coining the phrase, "The Network is the Computer!" This profound observation is correct. The seemingly seamless operation of the cellphone computer when it operates on data that was retrieved from other computers on the Internet gives us an impression of an all-powerful information appliance that is a welcome addition to our complicated lives. With the world's information literally at our fingertips, we can make better-informed decisions about manifold issues that we face at the current moment.

Just as a good peripheral device adds significant value to the system, the Internet essentially adds a vast array of powerful computers and their

resources to your Android cellphone, as long as Android applications know how to talk to it. And thanks to the dedicated efforts of hundreds of computer programmers, Android does know how to talk to it.

Currently, specific software tools housed on the Internet have been integrated into the functionality of your Android cellphone so that you can edit data either with a workstation running an Internet browser or using the cellphone itself and then having the software automatically synchronize them. These Google-specific tools are all related to your Google-specific account. The applications kept in synchronization are Gmail, your contact lists, your calendar, and your financial portfolios. The synchronization that occurs here is automatic, so you don't need to do anything to make it happen. With such a rich list of integrated devices, base software, and access to countless databases and servers with raw computing power through the digital network connection of the Internet, creative people are coming up with all sorts of ideas for how to use them—and many of those people are not even programmers.

If you are one of those nonprogrammers with a good idea for an advanced application, why not get on one of the Google Group Forums (see the links at the end of this chapter) and describe your idea? Perhaps a programmer will agree with you and be willing to turn your idea into reality.

This idea stage is when people connect the dots (device capabilities with human needs) and come up with useful application ideas that can exploit the power of these devices. Remember that every great technological advance that we enjoy today began as an idea in somebody's head. The only thing preventing a good idea from becoming reality is the desire and drive on the part of that somebody—go ahead, make contact with the Android community!

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