Monday, October 06, 2008

New mobile platform arrives: Android

By Jonathan Nalder of

As most geeks would know, the Google-developed mobile OS known as Android had its public unveiling last week. While only available on one handset in the US at the moment, its open-source nature and backing from Google mean that it is destined to become a major new mobile platform alongside the existing Palm OS, Windows Mobile, RIM Blackberry, and iPhone OSX.

We’re not interested in the competition between these OS’s here, but in what new features Android brings to the use of mobile devices for learning. In this case, what Android brings is an acceleration of the mobile access to cloud computing that iPhone OSX began 18 months ago. Because Google itself has no interest in desktop computers, Android devices currently link in directly with online services rather than syncing with a home computer as every other mobile OS has always done.

This means that files, music, video etc are all either accessed online, downloaded directly from the net, or streamed to the handset. What does this mean for education? Well, perhaps its another sign that our many labs stocked with desktop PCs are becoming less and less relevant. Perhaps forward thinking education departments need to start planning a cloud-computing based model for getting out content and services to its students. There’s a few interesting years ahead!

To read more on the Android launch (and a whole heap of interesting, though not-education focused comments) read the engadget article HERE.