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Android Apps, Devices Coming Next Week

Google's mobile platform is gaining market share, and Android devices and apps are expected to be a dominant factor at the Mobile World Conference, research firm says.

Motorola Droid
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Next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is promising to be a major launching pad for scores of Android phones, appliances , and applications.

While most firms will wait until the actual event to unveil their wares, a few have begun trumpeting their products in advance of the show. Broadcom, for instance, said it will showcase Android support with a range of products including its BCM4760 personal navigation chipset. Broadcom’s BCM4329 chip is included in Google’s Nexus One, offering support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and VoIP.

Huawei Technologies has also signaled that it will introduce Android products at the show. Although Huawei is primarily a telecom infrastructure equipment supplier, it has also produced Android handsets.

Motorola, which gained market share in the the fourth quarter, will continue to place a big bet on the Android operating system. Moto scored critical acclaim for its Droid smartphone and is poised to release multiple handsets with the Google-backed operating system for China Mobile this year.

The market research firm CSS Insight surveyed exhibitors who have signed up for the Barcelona event and predicted that Android devices would be a dominant factor at the World Mobile Congress.

"Android continues to gain momentum as handset makers seek to offer smartphones and smart feature phones that integrate the key connectivity technologies demanded by today’s connected mobile experience,” said Broadcom’s Robert Rango in a statement. Rango is executive vice president & general manager of the firm’s Wireless Connectivity Group.

The open architecture of the Android platform has attracted many suppliers to develop products for the mobile phone. In a recent survey by comScore, Android phones accounted for 5.2% of U.S. smartphones at the end of 2009. While that number pales before the market share of BlackBerrys and iPhones, it is a 100% jump over the previous quarter’s figure and indicates the Android phones are just beginning to take off.

But the open architecture has its drawbacks. A warning issued last month by First Tech Credit Union identified an application in the Android Market as malware. Google's Android Market has less oversight than Apple's iTunes App Store, and users are expected to police the store shelves themselves.