I’ve returned recently from a business trip in Asia and met a few prospects over there. It seems like a lot of activity is going on in Asia around the Android operating system – the most obvious being 3G phones based on the Android OS.
As 3G supports mobile video telephony inherently, service providers make a requirement for handset vendors to add such support to their Android devices as well. From the ongoing work that we’ve been doing for a few handset vendors’ upcoming Android handsets, here are 3 requirements that I myself didn’t know about for such an integration:
1. Android isn’t geared towards mobile video telephony
Google is the company behind Android. Google is a US company, focusing (at least at first) on the US market, trying to build a competitive solution to its archrival: the Apple iPhone. However, mobile video telephony just isn’t part of what comes with the Android.
Want a simple example?
Take RIL (the Radio Interface Layer), for instance. The implementation shipped with the Android OS just doesn’t support mobile video telephony – there is no way to open up a 64kbps circuit switched connection with the RIL Daemon implementation. Vendors who wish to use Android and 3G-324M need to modify the RIL Daemon’s implementation and add the missing components or bypass it in some other means.
2. One size doesn’t fit all
Vendors approached me several times asking if we had any experience with Android on the chipset they have chosen. While the answer is usually “yes”, we cannot provide any “out-of-the-box” solution that they can just take and use.
In order to provide a solution for mobile video telephony on Android, we need to work on the exact hardware design that the vendor is working on. Even if the main chip is the same one used in another vendor’s design, the camera may be different, the screen resolutions may vary and the same goes for other aspects of the system.
So yes, each Android project is slightly different, with some integration effort and fine tuning needed in each case.
3. It is coming to the market
At the moment I don’t think that there are any Android handsets on the market that support 3G-324M. But I do know that there will be a few of them released pretty soon. How do I know this? We’re assisting a few vendors to implement 3G-324M for those handsets.
I guess that now that Android has made its mark on the mobile handsets market and is being adopted rapidly by multiple vendors, service providers are looking into what they can offer on top of it to their customers – mapping the missing features they need and asking vendors to provide them in upcoming handsets.
While the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 may or may not have a front facing camera, Android mobile handsets are definitely coming out with front facing cameras, and the best way to utilize these cameras is by utilizing 3G-324M for video calling.