Google demonstrates Android applications

Google publicly demonstrated its forthcoming Android mobile operating system Wednesday during its annual developer conference in San Francisco, touting the platform's mobile web services, mobile gaming prowess and map features by means of an iPhone-like touchscreen device. Speaking at Google's I/O conference, the firm's vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said Android heralds its attempt to extend the browser to handheld devices: "We believe over time, the browser on mobile devices will be the entry point for many, many applications," he said.

During the brief demonstration, Google showed the audience Android versions of its Google Maps Street View service (bolstered by the device's internal compass and accelerometer) as well as a snippet of a Pac-Man game--other bells and whistles include mobile website bookmarking and a mobile web content magnifying tool.

Andy Rubin, the Google exec charged with spearheading the Android initiative, said Android-based devices remain on track to hit retail sometime during the second half of 2008. Rubin also hinted strongly that Google is planning to launch an Android application storefront: "It would be a great benefit to the Android community to provide a place where people can go to safely and securely download content and where a billing system would allow developers to get paid for their effort," he said. "We wouldn't have done our job if we didn't provide something that helps developers get distribution."

For more on the Android demo:
-read this Associated Press article and watch this Android live demo

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