Following last week's announcement of Google’s Linux-based Android mobile phone platform, the company and its partners in the Open Handset Alliance have released an “early look” version of the software development kit for Android, allowing developers to run, test, profile, and debug applications using an emulator and other tools. In addition to the SDK, new details about the open-source platform have been made available:

Android is built on the Linux 2.6 kernel, includes a virtual machine called Dalvik to maximize application performance and will come with a core set of applications including e-mail client, SMS program, calendar, maps and a browser based on the open-source WebKit engine. The entire Android platform will be made available for free under the Apache Version 2 open-source license in 2008.
To spur interest in the open-source platform, Google also announced the Android Developer Challenge, which will offer $10 million in awards to developers whose applications are deem “innovative and compelling” by the Open Handset Alliance members. Further details are available at the Android Developers blog.