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New Android 2.0 SDK and rumored Droid launch Nov. 6: What Android 2.0 and the new Motorola Droid mean for Android

Gist: Android 2.0 SDK released, Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris to launch on Verizon on Nov 6, as rumored by Boy Genius Report. Hardware has always been the bottleneck on Android, among other problems. The marketing by Verizon making Droid a serious mobile device for the alternative iPhone market as well as the excellent hardware on the Motorola Droid, and the polished Android 2.0 Eclair OS, will allow Android to become more mainstream.

Google (GOOG) has made official the new Android 2.0 SDK, which allows the new 2.0 “Eclair” APIs to be used in Android applications, including improved bluetooth, multitouch, sync, account management, and, of course, support for new Android 2.0 devices such as the Motorola Droid. The new SDK update is downloadable immediately. Android 2.0 official video is at the bottom of this article.

Leading mobile industry news and insider source Boy Genius Report reports that the Motorola Droid (MOT) and HTC Droid Eris (2498.TW), two new Android 2.0 Eclair devices, will hit the stores on November 6 on the Verizon Wireless (VZ) network.

The Droid devices, highly hyped by Verizon as the iPhone killer, has been the subject of quite a bit viral marketing and noise in the mobile industry. Earlier this month, Verizon launched a mysterious marketing page for the Motorola Droid at DroidDoes.com, a direct attack against the Apple (AAPL) iPhone device’s shortcomings.

I’ve recently moved from bearish to bullish on the Android platform. The first T-Mobile Android G1 device wasn’t polished and didn’t at the time seem like a viable competitor to the iPhone.

However, the Motorola Droid could be a huge development in the Android environment. Droid represents a serious advance in promoting Android as a serious device, built and supported by two serious mobile companies. The specs of the device (the same processor as the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre, large screen, full of memory, ready for backgrounding applications, and more delicious specs) will hold its claim to fame as the premier Android hardware.

The bottleneck to the proliferation of Android has partly been the hardware that it runs on. The G1′s hardware didn’t cut it, especially since Android and all Android applications operate on Java, which is a notoriously slow platform. (EDIT: No, it isn’t, I’m wrong; I had neglected to mention that the Android platform has a custom build of Java called Dalvik.) The other bottleneck is the App Store, which, although it will improve over time, the derivative of available applications needs to start getting better. And with the new SDK and excellent new Android 2.0 Eclair, we may be seeing real changes soon.

  • smazero

    “all Android applications operate on Java, which is a notoriously slow platform.”

    I think this statement is a little nonsensical. Surely the Android platform uses Linux at its core which is C/C++ based, and to quote the Android docs:

    “Android includes a set of C/C++ libraries used by various components of the Android system. These capabilities are exposed to developers through the Android application framework.”

    Now I know that application code for the devices *is* written in Java, but then the Java class files are then converted to a special executable format for the Dalvik VM, which is distinct from the Java VM, before running on the device.

    All that aside, the blanket statement “Java is notoriously slow”, doesn't make sense in and of itself. Don't get me wrong, there are lot of reasons to dislike aspects of Java the language, but Java the VM has had a ton of work done on it, and is plenty fast

  • http://kevinelliott.net/blogs/entrepreneurial kevinelliott

    “Droid” is a silly name for this phone. Not that “iPhone” was especially great. However, “Droid” is certainly associated with “sci-fi” or “geekdom”, where as “iPhone” was simply another “i” line in Apple's internet-based product lines; i.e. it's more generic.

    So, I think that ultimately, the geekier types (not necessarily early adopter crowd manipulating types) will certainly like the platform. Having used previous Android devices, I can say that the user experience is NOT as straightforward and simple as the iPhone, even if it provides the same or more power under the hood.

    Further, as a platform for selling applications, it's not good at all. Android Marketplace made less than 5% of what the iPhone App Store made, and, it's mostly filled with free apps. This is good for the consumer, until you realize that MOST of the free apps are garbage (because quality generally requires compensation), and thus, users feel like there aren't nearly as many excellent apps as the iPhone platform has. This leads to less people buying into the platform, and then, not feeding the marketplace, which leads to developers staying away from the marketplace.

    IMHO, Google shot themselves in the foot with the Android platform when they made it a “runs on whatever device you want, and lots of free stuff, come get it geeks!” platform. I'd love to see 2.0 change this in some way though!

  • http://markbao.com Mark Bao

    Yep, you're definitely right. I had neglected to account fully for Java, and this was brought to light on Hacker News. I have since changed that statement. Thank you!

  • smazero

    “all Android applications operate on Java, which is a notoriously slow platform.”

    I think this statement is a little nonsensical. Surely the Android platform uses Linux at its core which is C/C++ based, and to quote the Android docs:

    “Android includes a set of C/C++ libraries used by various components of the Android system. These capabilities are exposed to developers through the Android application framework.”

    Now I know that application code for the devices *is* written in Java, but then the Java class files are then converted to a special executable format for the Dalvik VM, which is distinct from the Java VM, before running on the device.

    All that aside, the blanket statement “Java is notoriously slow”, doesn't make sense in and of itself. Don't get me wrong, there are lot of reasons to dislike aspects of Java the language, but Java the VM has had a ton of work done on it, and is plenty fast

  • http://kevinelliott.net/blogs/entrepreneurial kevinelliott

    “Droid” is a silly name for this phone. Not that “iPhone” was especially great. However, “Droid” is certainly associated with “sci-fi” or “geekdom”, where as “iPhone” was simply another “i” line in Apple's internet-based product lines; i.e. it's more generic, and thus appeals to a wider audience. If the phone might have been called something other than “Droid” in a universal way, you don't even really need to push the Android bit (except for the hard core folks).

    So, I think that ultimately, the geekier types (not necessarily early adopter crowd manipulating types) will certainly like the platform. Having used previous Android devices, I can say that the user experience is NOT as straightforward and simple as the iPhone, even if it provides the same or more power under the hood.

    Further, as a platform for selling applications, it's not good at all. Android Marketplace made less than 5% of what the iPhone App Store made, and, it's mostly filled with free apps. This is good for the consumer, until you realize that MOST of the free apps are garbage (because quality generally requires compensation), and thus, users feel like there aren't nearly as many excellent apps as the iPhone platform has. This leads to less people buying into the platform, and then, not feeding the marketplace, which leads to developers staying away from the marketplace.

    IMHO, Google shot themselves in the foot with the Android platform when they made it a “runs on whatever device you want, and lots of free stuff, come get it geeks!” platform. I'd love to see 2.0 change this in some way though!

  • http://markbao.com Mark Bao

    Yep, you're definitely right. I had neglected to account fully for Java, and this was brought to light on Hacker News. I have since changed that statement. Thank you!

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