Google certainly doesn\’t let grass grow under its feet.

Just a scant three months after announcing its open Android mobile platform – and a standards group whose members include some heavy hitters – the first Android demonstrations happened at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain last week. Chip makers Texas Instruments, ARM, and Qualcomm – members of Google\’s Open Standards Alliance – showed off prototype handsets using Android and multi-core architecture, which will give so-called \”Google Phones\” their numerous capabilities.

In Barcelona, observers were wowed by features like touch interface, one-button access, animation, and a true mobile web-browser. Android phones will also have multimedia capabilities, Google and its partners promise. True, some of those features have appeared on other mobile devices, most famously the iPhone. But unlike most other handsets\’ software, Android is open-source, which is the real benefit.

Android is the first real open-source competition to threaten Windows Mobile, Symbian, and the various flavors of open Linux platforms. Three factors could make Android possibly superior to the other operating systems.

First, it has the ability to bring a wide variety of parties – handset makers, cellular service providers, semiconductor manufacturers, and software makers – in agreement about one standard. Secondly, it\’s open-source, meaning that the code is open to anyone who wants to improve it or to build better-than-ever applications. (Linux is open-source, of course, but there are innumerable versions of Linux mobile out there, rather than one standard Linux platform.)

Third, consider Google\’s announcement $10 million in cash prizes to the developers of the best applications created by non-Google employees – that\’s enough to get even the laziest developer determined to create the ultimate mobile phone apps.

All this means it could take mobile communications technology far beyond whatever\’s available today. And that\’s a boon for both for consumers and the marketers who want to reach them.

-Eydie Cubarrubia, Mobile Communications Manager, mobileStorm
\”I\’d rather you text me\”