Android Installer Fires Up Developers

Google's open-source mobile platform finds a new niche on Nokia N810.

The folks at Internet Tablet Talk have created an Android installer for the Nokia N810, allowing developers to sidestep what has been a tedious process to port Google's new open-source mobile operating system. Since Android is not currently available on any cell phone, the installer is considered a significant step forward for Android developers.

Nokia's tablet device is not a cell phone, but it does contain Wi-Fi connectivity for Web browsing and users can use a Bluetooth connection for mobile access. Most important for developers, the N810 runs on Maemo Linux, a version of the Linux-powering Android.

According to a number of blog posts, the Android browser and maps app appear to be working after installing Android on the N810. Developers can also uninstall Android from the device and revert to the Linux kernel originally loaded by Nokia.

"I find that for running in an emulator, it is pretty zippy. The browser is nice-- kind of slow, but nice," wrote Alephito on Internet Tablet Talk. "There is also no flash support." But Alephito on the same blog wrote: "In general, I liked Android. But it was almost impossible to click on text links."

While the installer makes it easy to load into the N810, other bloggers wanted to know just what one does when it is installed.

"So, from the point of view of someone who just wants to use his N800 and doesn't necessarily want to experiment for the sake of experimenting, what does running Android get me?" asked one blogger. The response: "Right now? Probably not much. In the future? Google Android apps written by Google or other people."

Google first unveiled Android last November as an alternative to proprietary mobile operating systems from Microsoft and Symbian. Aimed at the roughly 3 billion mobile phone users around the world, Android is a Linux-based mobile software stack, including an operating system, HTML Web browser, middleware and applications.

The stack was created under the aegis of the Open Handset Alliance, an alliance of technology and wireless carriers that includes Google, T-Mobile, eBay, Qualcomm and Motorola as just a handful of the 34 founding members.