Google claims we can expect to see at least 18 phones with the Android operating system by year’s end, possibly 20. Which phone carriers they will be on has yet to be determined, according to the New York Times. Currently T-Mobile’s G1 and a phone available in Europe called “Magic” by HTC are the only phones that give Google credit for using their Android OS.
If the Android phones can be released sooner rather than later, it should provide some interesting competition for the summer phone war against the iPhone and Blackberry, among others. The applications available for the Android will play a major factor in consumer’s buying decisions.
This is where there is still some confusion regarding the Android OS. According to the Times, there are three types of Android platforms. Each places different requirements on the handset manufacturers and wireless carriers. The Times broke each of these types out, here is a short summary of them:
- Obligation Free—Popular Google applications cannot be preloaded on the OS, but device manufacturers are allowed to provide access to as many or as few applications as they wish. This type is free for device manufactures to use.
- Small Strings—This version encompasses everything above, but manufactures sign a distribution agreement with Google. Google expects 12 to 14 of the 18 phones released this year to use this version.
- The Google Experience—The actual Google logo appears on these phones, and include a variety of Google applications that cannot be removed by the handset maker or carrier. Additionally, the Android market must remain censor-free. This means that no matter how horrible/distasteful a application available to some users may be, they cannot restrict access to it. Five or six phones are expected to be released with this version.
Are you thinking of switching to a phone with the Android OS?