Posts Tagged ‘android’

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Two different Android kernel trees?

November 21, 2007

Is Google hiding the Android kernel source?

Ok, that was a bit extreme… but definitely Google/OHA is not making it easy to reach the android kernel source code. You can of course google it, and find git.android.com and find a git repository of what we can call version A of Android source, but other than the announcement in the ARM Linux Kernel Mailing List (about which I commented in a previous post) there is really no way to get to it from anywhere else (in particular from the Android website or the OHA one).

However if you go through the “fine print” in the Android website (that is, go to Download the SDK, and then go to the bottom of the page and click through the not so flashy link Android project page ) and that will take you to what I would call version B. I am giving different names because they are definitely not the same thing.

Version A last update seem to have been on November 8 (13 days of no activity by the time of this post), and version B is a static tar.gz file dated November 11 (I don’t even know if that file is being updated).

There are of course more differences than the latest modification, for instance version A clearly is focused on mach_msm (for the Qualcomm chipset I mentioned in my previous post) and has as the proposed board definition the “halibut”, it is noticeable that most of the code contributions in this one are found in the architecture section of the code (arch/arm/mach-msm).

In Contrast version B is targetted to mach_goldfish and uses the board definition for “goldfish”, in this one the specific code is equally split between the architecture section and the drivers section (this one clearly named drivers/android).

Halibut and Goldfish are two of the at least four boards that Google registered at the ARM Linux Machine Registry (being the other two Sardine and Trout), it is funny that instead of having a single repository including the two, they have this two separate versions… there is something fishy here, and I am not talking about the board names.

Probably there is much more that can be inferred about potential specifications by looking at both sources, but I will leave that for another day.

Maybe I am just being paranoid about the android here and there is some reason to all this, but I am failing to see it.

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Android SDK released

November 13, 2007

Yeah… another android post. Probably not many more news after this one though.

Anyway, the SDK was finally released, and it turns out that it is just a bunch of Java classes (yeah… I am a bit disappointed).

I agree it has many innovative and cool features, all applications are first class (so you can override any aspect of your phone), and the API seems to be nice, particularly the UI part (I haven’t gone very deep but I like what I saw) and the potential ease of use in general… but still it is no more than a bunch of optimized classes for a modified Java VM!

What if you don’t like / don’t know Java? What if your applications are currently in C/C++, Python, Perl, name_your_favorite? I wonder if this is more about Google’s powerful name than anything else. Furthermore what happens to write once run anywhere if you use a non-standard non-JCP JVM? I don’t think this is necessarily good for Java (actually it may be quite bad), and all the Symbian, Windows Mobile and Mac OSX phones are not just going to disappear (and more unlikely to support Dalvik)

We have Qtopia, we have Maemo, is really this Java VM thing a reason good enough to justify yet another Linux for phones? I have to admit that I am also disappointed because I was hoping to see virtualization being used in some other context.

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Android’s source… HTC Dream?

November 10, 2007

So the Android team at Google released the source code of the work they are doing on Linux with support of Qualcomm for the MSM7200A SURF Development board (MACH_HALIBUT). (Full announcement here)

Probably this means that the first Android enabled “gPhones” will be supporting the Qualcomm Mobile Solution Modems 7200 Chipset. So at least we know that much of the potential specifications of the future phones.

It is well known that HTC is working in the so called “Dream” phone, whose specifications have not yet been revealed, but it has been speculated that it may be the HTC Omni.

Since both are using the MSM 7200, I am tempted to say that it may be the case, and if not at least the suspicions are well funded.


				
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Nokia, Symbian… about Android

November 8, 2007

I was just saying two days ago that Nokia was notably absent from the Open Handset Alliance, and just yesterday Nokia stated that they didn’t consider it a threat. Today they have a different position on it, stating that they “never closed any doors” and they even welcomed them. However it looks like Symbian is singing a different tune. They even compared Android and other Mobile Linux to the common cold: “It’s a bit like the common cold. It keeps coming round and then we go back to business.” said John Forsyth, VP of Strategy at Symbian.

I still think it makes no sense for Nokia to just ditch Maemo and join OHA, but they are keeping the door open, maybe just as a fail safe. Anyway, I like Maemo, and it’s good that we will have plenty of choices when picking the OS for our mobile phone.

However I don’t think Symbian should take it so lightly, I bet a lot of devs would be happier coding for Linux than Symbian, and offering some advantages over it as well, so it may not be such a small threat.

Let’s wait and see what happens…