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What is Android?

In a nutshell, it is a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. Built by developers at Google, the Android platform is open source (built on the Linux Kernal); developers can download the Android SDK and create richer and innovative mobile applications.

So the idea is: with devices built on the Android Platform, users can fully customize and tailor their phone without reliance or constraints due to the phone’s core applications or third-party applications. Such a phone, like a Google Phone (or G-Phone), would cater this.

Recently, Acer (the third-largest PC maker) will release a netbook (a slimmed-down laptop designed for simple functions, such as Web browsing and word processing) that will run on Google’s Android operating system by the third quarter of this year. This operating system is also free; whereas Microsoft charges $15-20 to netbook manufacturers or $35 for the full Windows version in laptops and PCs. In addition, Microsoft will find a new competitor to its Office software with Google Docs.

But how threatened should Microsoft be of Google really? Let’s face it, this is nothing new. Microsoft has rivals from all corners. Apple in the OS department; Mozilla Firefox browser (Google’s Chrome needs to pick up the pace in this race); and there are many compatible open office programs, such as Star, Open Office, and now Google Docs.

For Google, Android is another freebie in a long line of services geared to guide users back to its search engine, where it can serve them ads–its core business.

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