Google debuts Android phone system

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The heavily rumored Google phone saw the light of day last week at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, in the form of the new Android platform. Android is a software platform for mobile devices created by Google that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.

Taking on Apple's iPhone, Google has integrated Web browsing, instant messaging, e-mail and video to be used with one button. According to Google's Android blog, “Android does not differentiate between the phone's basic and third-party applications -- even the dialer or home screen can be replaced.”

Developers can create applications for the platform using the Android SDK and open-source Linux software.

“By creating a complete platform where the mobile device is open and integrated with the Internet, everyone in the mobile ecosystem will benefit,” said Megan Hughes, a spokesperson at Google.

The new software may influence how mobile marketers and search and display marketers sending messaging to consumers. But it could be too soon to tell.

“In truth, Android doesn't mean much on either front for a while because, even if Android is wildly successful beyond Google's dreams, it will still only represent a small portion of the market for the next several years,” said Charles Golvin, analyst at Forester Research. “And if or when it does achieve meaningful share, the landscape for mobile marketing in all its forms will have shifted significantly. So one impact is that Android will have helped spur operators, media companies and device makers to improve the mobile marketing environment.”

Android is not expected to land until later this year.

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