Google woos developers to Android

Google woos developers to Android

Open handset project gets developer tools, $10m developer challenge

Google has released a software development kit (SDK) for its Android open handset project.

The SDK will allow developers to party applications that will work with Google's mobile operating system. The applications would then be able to run on any of the handsets produced by members of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of software and handset manufacturers formed around the Android platform.

The first Android-based handsets are expected by the second half of 2008.

Accompanying the SDK will be a set of online documentation for developers as well as a new blog written by Google's Android development team.

In order to pique developer interest in the platform, Google is conducting a programming contest for Android with prizes totalling $10m. Developers are be challenged to create new software for the platform, with the top 50 entries receiving funding for additional development.

The contest will open in January and Google will accept entries until 3 March. Each of the top 50 applications will be awarded $25,000. Of those 50, ten winners will be selected for a $275,000 top prize and ten more will receive $100,000.

Google also is planning a second Android development contest for the second half of 2008.