Android SDK goes beta

Well, if you follow the embedded industry even from a distance, the news that the Android SDK has gone beta is old news by now. I’ve been so busy p2-izing our upcoming Wind River products that I haven’t had time to write here. Time to get my priorities straight :).

Any whoo, there’s a lot of competition all of a sudden for mind share in the mobile Linux game. Android has been pretty quiet lately but they’ve clearly been busy beavers and a real Android-based device seems imminent, so it’s time to take them seriously.

The only thing I’m really waiting for from them, however, is open sourcing of their Dalvik VM technology (can’t call it Java since it’s not Java, but it’s Java…). For Java to truly take off in the embedded space, we need a good VM that works in resource constrained environments and runs well on relatively slow processors. Oh, yeah, and it has to be freely available for the kids to play with it. It’s there in the Android SDK, but it would be cool to have the source to see how hard it would be to port to other mobile Linux platforms.

Because there are other players in this game and they actually seem to be ahead at this point. OpenMoko has already shipped a new version of their Neo FreeRunner phone. LiMo has a healthy stable of partners with a number of them already shipping devices as well.

So is there room for all of them? No. There is not. As Donald Smith conjectured recently, mobile is becoming more about the software stack than the hardware. Luckily we have more hardware than stacks at the moment, but not by much. We need to see some consolidation here soon so that application developers can start building those killer apps without having to port them to umpteen different environments.

BTW, Equinox running on Dalvik would be very cool. I’m guessing it’s not easy. But is this in the works by anyone?