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Has the Motorola Droid 'Force' Hit You?

· Java Zone

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The buzz surrounding Motorola's Droid, one of the most anticipated handsets to date, reached a deafening peak today.  In an effort to compete with the iPhone, Motorola joined forces with Google and Verizon.  Will the 'Force' be strong enough in the Droid?  Well, since Motorola has to pay a fee to Lucasfilm just to use the term "Droid", they better get some 'Force' out of the deal.  Star Wars references aside, the Droid has some interesting stories surronding it.

The Google Bump
You should go to the Google search page and see the kind of exposure Droid is getting.  That's right, the world's most popular search engine has one ad on its front page and it's for the Motorola Droid.  Of course, Google is giving this priviledge to the Droid because it uses its Android 2.0 operating system. 

The Other Droid
There's another Droid on the market.  HTC's Droid Eris also came out today.  Eris is similar to the HTC Hero, a handset from Sprint.  Eris is a Verizon phone based on Android 1.5.  The "Droid" designation is not meant to confuse.  Verizon says it will use the "Droid" brand name in every phone that has the Android OS.

Ahead of the Game
Motorola is getting a significant advantage in the smartphone market because it is the first phone to use the newest version of Android OS.  It's uncertain whether or not handsets with older versions of Android will be able to upgrade to 2.0.  Most smartphones don't have the hardware to handle Android 2.0, and it may be a few months before they catch up. 

Is Android's Source Truly Open?
Android 2.0 is open source, but there's some doubt as to whether or not contributors outside of Google have much control over the development.  It was only within the last week that the feature list and developer kit for Android 2.0 were released.  That didn't give outside developers much time to contribute before the Android 2.0 shipped with the Droid smartphone.  How much contribution is coming from developers outside Google?  Is Google's desire for consistent commercial output the real driving force behnd Android development?  Would you call it open source?

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