Google today paved the way for the imminent launch of its Android mobile phone platform with the first European live demo of an Android device at a developer event in London.
At the annual Google Developer Day conference, developer advocate Mike Jennings showed off the device, which was carefully covered to obscure the handset manufacturer or operator name.
The mobile phone featured Wi-Fi and 3G, built-in GPS and a touch screen.
Unlike the iPhone the handset did not have a sensor to switch between portrait and landscape mode, and the zoom function was only possible by pressing plus and minus icons on the screen, rather than allowing users to use their fingers.
Jennings claimed that the Android platform would support push email capabilities, although he was vague about any plans to serve the corporate market by building interfaces to BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Outlook Exchange.
"The impressive thing about Android is that there have been a lot of political advances to get the carriers to sign up to the notion of openness," he said.
"Mobile development is not where it should be considering the technology out there, and they're seeing that now, although a lot of carriers are still in a different mindset from Google."
Feedback from the developer community was mixed. Many are keen to find out whether there is going to be a sizeable enough consumer or corporate market for Android-based applications.
"We're all geeks," said one developer in an 'Intro to Android' workshop at the event. "We all want to develop for it, but that's not going to sell it on the high street. I'd like to know how you're going to get Joe Public to buy devices with Android on them."
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