Java News from Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google has released the Android Software Development Kit 1.0. This is an open source Java environment for writing programs that run on the Android platform mobile phones such as the recently announced T-Mobile G-1. Unlike IPhone apps, you don't need Google's or T-Mobile's or anyone else's permission to install software, and you can run apps in the background. Android is a far more powerful development platform than the IPhone, and I'm very psyched about it. The initial hardware isn't quite as well-designed as the IPhone, but one of the advantages of Android is that there'll be more than one manufacturer so we'll have a much wider choice of phones. More seriously the user interaction model isn't as clean as the IPhone's. Hopefully that will improve with time.

But the kicker is the open software development environment vs. Apple's walled garden. You'd think Mac v. Windows would have taught Apple the importance of opening up the world to developers if they wanted a platform to achieve broad adoption. Apparently they are stubbornly rfusing to learn from history. In fact, quite the opposite. The IPhone is far more closed than the Mac ever was, and now that there's a real competitor out there, the writing is on the wall. Unless Apple radically opens up, the IPhone's going to go from market leader to niche within a year.