The Google Android mobile operating system will likely take the mobile industry by storm when it is released. From what I’ve read they are already lining up handset manufacturers who want to run Android when it becomes publicly available, and it’s expected to be available on around a dozen different handsets running it when launched later this year.

The demonstrations last month at Mobile World Congress for Android were less than stellar, and didn’t really show off anything that would leave an impression in your mind. Not to mention that there was no touch screen action thrown in the mix. What Google demonstrated last year was a lot more exciting than those, but even still they didn’t really tinker with the capabilities of the system.

BBC got the chance to meet with Andy Rubin, the main guy behind Android, who was kind enough to show first hand some of the things that can be done on a 300MHz touch screen device (half the speed of the iPhone). I’ve embedded the video below, and here’s an overview of what happens so that you can skip around to the parts that interest you:

  • 43 seconds: Webkit-based browser demonstration. Shows panning and zooming around websites, and they make a point to say that it is using the 3G network which the iPhone currently lacks.
  • 2 minutes 22 seconds: Non-interactive Quake demonstration showing off the 3D capabilities. Looks rather good from the video, but I wonder if it would look the same if a user was actually playing the game.
  • 2 minutes 50 seconds: A Google Street View application is demonstrated. When watching this I thought about how cool it would be if Google tied this into a GPS receiver!

I really like where Android is headed, and the fact that an SDK is widely available to developers will probably make this grow very quickly. We’ll have to see what Apple unveils this week for the iPhone SDK before we make any judgements and comparisons.

BBC: Under the bonnet of Android [via MobileMag]
Thanks to OldManDeath for the tip!