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26 August 2008, 19:33

Android 1.0 loses GoogleTalk and Bluetooth APIs

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Google has confirmed that they are dropping the GTalkService API and Bluetooth API from Android 1.0. The two APIs disappeared in the 0.9 beta SDK for Android and developers had wondered if the disappearance was temporary. Android is Google's much anticipated open source operating system for mobile phones and devices and is rumoured to be arriving soon, running on one or two mobile phone devices in the US.

In confirming the news, Google developers explained that the GTalkService, an XMPP instant messaging service, was removed due to a number of issues discovered by Rich Cannings, a Google security researcher. As implemented, it was felt that the GTalkService would reveal too much information about users, so Google decided to pull the API until they could resolve the issues, post version 1.0. They also pointed out GTalkService was a Google "value-added" service and was not expected to be on all Android devices. The aim is that the replacement service will be part of the core of a future Android release.

The Bluetooth API was removed, they say, because despite being far along with the development, the code required clean up and there were still issues about how future-proof that API would be. The future-proofing issue was complicated still more by the arrival of bluez 4.x which changed the underlying API that the Bluetooth API would have used. Google's developers have comitted to bringing the API back in later versions of Android.

How these changes impact the user experience of the first generation of Android phones will not be known until an Android 1.0 phone ships. Bluetooth headsets and handsfree devices will be supported, but no applications that make other use of the Bluetooth stack will be present. The lack of instant messaging may open the way for third parties to develop IM solutions for Android, but if, as believed, the Google Talk service was to be the glue for the social networking elements of Android, then Android may be shipping less one unique-selling-point in a crowded market.


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