All you need to know about Google's Android

For Android to succeed, Google will have to build a head of steam behind it, and get operators and application builders to accept it.

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Will service providers be able to lock down phones?

According to the Android open license agreement, anyone can modify the OS to suit their needs - including locking it down. Conceivably a carrier could place restrictions on applications, such as VoIP services that took advantage of a mobile phone's Wi-Fi capabilities. Being able to receive and initiate calls over VoIP for free on a handset could significantly impact a wireless carrier's monthly revenue.

While Google CEO Schmidt acknowledges that locking is possible, however, he said today that it would be "unlikely" for a carrier to actually do so.

with this "open platform" behind the phone, I'll be able to hack it and customise it anyway, right?

You've seen what has happened with the iPhone. With an open platform driving all Android phones, hackers should whip up something for any locked-down Android device even more easily. We'd bet that any sufficiently popular locked phones won't remain that way for long.

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