The first Android-powered smartphone will be manufactured by High Tech Computer, and will have a large touch screen that slides out to reveal a five-row QWERTY keyboard. The device, which has been dubbed "Dream," will be released as soon as it passes FCC certification, according to a report from the The New York Times.
Since Google first announced the mobile operating system last November, the search company has maintained a fourth-quarter 2008 time frame. Google also helped form a consortium known as the Open Handset Alliance with the goal of creating an open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices.
The Android platform will also allow Google to expand its successful advertising business into the increasingly lucrative mobile market. But time to market may be an important factor for Android as it will face multiple challenges to displace existing players.
One problem may be getting Android in front of customers, as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two largest U.S. wireless carriers, have not agreed to have Android-powered devices on its networks. Sprint Nextel, the third-largest carrier, will have handsets with Google's OS, but has not revealed when a device would be available.
Additionally, the Android platform will be geared specifically toward the consumer market. While this gives it a broad customer base, leaving the lucrative enterprise market to the likes of Symbian, Research In Motion, and Windows Mobile could be a mistake. Even Apple made steps to ensure that its consumer-friendly iPhone would be compatible with corporate networks.
Representatives from T-Mobile and HTC did not specify when a device would be available, but they maintained that an Android-powered phone was on track for the fourth quarter.