Saturday, December 08, 2007

Android and Libraries

Android is an open, and free mobile application platform developed by a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies that make up the Open Handset Alliance.

OpenAndroid was built to enable developers to create mobile applications that take full advantage of the features of a mobile device. As a result, an application built on the platform could call upon any of the phone's core functionality such as voice calling, text messaging, or build in audio/video. A developer can combine information from the web with data on he device such as contacts, calendar, or GPS location to provide a customizable user experience. Since Android will be open source; it can be extended to incorporate technologies as they emerge.

I think that Android will bring us into an interesting future of mobile communications. Anyone can develop and install and develop applications and customize their mobile device to do what they want it to do.

The potential impact of these developments on libraries will be interesting to watch. I had high hopes when I saw Robin Ashford post Google's Android and Libraries in Academic Libraries. While she brings up many good points, they can be applied to mobile devices in general and not specific to Andriod.

As an example of the possibilities, imagine and Andriod WorldCat client. With GPS built into a device, one could do a search where ever they are physically and the results could be mapped to a library near you, much in the way WorldCat now identifies locations by IP addresses. Mash those results with Google Maps and one can create a complete resource discovery experience by navigating the customer directly to the library location.

Developments like Andriod also mean that the move towards a more Service Oriented approach in the design of library systems becomes even more critical. Instead of creating systems which work though a web interface, we may need to build standalone applications that on the customer's side uses a mobile interface but on the backside interacts with our existing systems and databases. Each library system could (should) have an Andriod application that is customized to access local content. Sphere: Related Content

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