After many months of rumours about Google's "Gphone", we've finally found out what it is: not a phone, but a framework for building mobile phone products. "Android", as they call it, is an operating system, tools, drivers, APIs and apps, giving a complete open-source software structure for a phone handset.

Google estimate that 10% of the bill-of-materials of a mobile is in the software, and they intend to make that part much cheaper to build, in the process building a large developer community for on-phone apps. Good timing for such an announcement, with Symbian riding high with a 70% smartphone market share, and Apple tantalizing us with the promise of an SDK for the iPhone.

Today, we all enjoy the benefits of standardized operating systems like Windows and Linux on PCS that allow app developers to concentrate on the value of their own software without having to fight just for simple device functionality. Interesting to think that the same might come to mobile handsets too.