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T-Mobile Aiming Google Android Beyond Mobile Phones

Android will be offered on a home phone and tablet computer early next year, according to confidential documents.

T-Mobile is preparing to offer Google's Android operating system on a home phone and tablet computer, as the wireless carrier reportedly tries to leverage the software to push deeper into the home with devices other than mobile phones.

T-Mobile, which was the first to market with an Android-based mobile phone, plans to first offer a home phone running the OS early next year, following it soon after with a tablet computer, The New York Times reported Sunday, quoting confidential documents obtained from one of T-Mobile's partners. The phone will plug into a docking station and come with a device that handles data synchronization while recharging the device's battery.

T-Mobile declined to discuss future products, but confirmed to the Times that it was planning several Android-based products. T-Mobile introduced the G1 mobile phone running the Google-developed open-source software last October. The phone is made by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, which announced a second Android phone, called the Magic, last month. T-Mobile plans to offer that phone, too.

T-Mobile, the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the United States after AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, isn't the only company looking to take Android beyond mobile phones, which have been the primary target to date.

Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest computer maker, is studying Android to determine whether it would be useful in PCs and other products. However, the company hasn't committed to using the software in any particular device.

Also, Asustek Computer said in February that it had dedicated engineers to create an Android mini-notebook but had not decided whether it would sell it. The system could be completed by the end of the year.

On the mobile phone, Android competes with Apple's iPhone and with handsets running the Symbian OS and Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the use of business software on smartphones. Download the report here (registration required).

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