Google opens the floodgates, open-sources Android

Making good on a promise it made at the very beginning, Google has today announced that the source code underpinning its Android platform for mobile devices is available for free to anyone who wants a crack at it. The code is being provided through the newly-announced Android Open Source Project, which will give the public at large the opportunity to make contributions to the platform's all-important core -- a first for a mobile operating system with true mass-market appeal. Theoretically, the move should position Android to benefit from a fairly democratic, speedy evolution, and it'll also give anyone with a few spare chips lying around the chance to build a smartphone of their own without shelling out a dime in licensing fees. We're really looking forward to seeing Android pop up on a whole bunch of devices for which it was never intended -- but we have to admit, in a sick, totally twisted sort of way, we're looking forward to some truly deranged individual porting Windows Mobile to the G1, too.