Google Announces 18 New Android Mobile Phones

May 29, 2009

At the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on May 27, Google's senior director for mobile platforms Andy Rubin made it public that many new Google phones are expected to appear by end of 2009.

According to an article in the New York Times, Google has a direct scoop on 18 new Android-based mobile phones hitting the market by end of this year, with the number perhaps as high as 20. Four or five of these devices should be real Google phones, that is, they'll have the logo and work with Gmail and other services, such as the G1 from T-Mobile.

A majority of the anticipated phones (12 to 14, according to Rubin) subscribe to Google's "small strings" option whereby manufacturers can load Android for free into their devices, but also agree to include Google applications on them. Another five or six vendors subscribe to the "bigger strings" option where devices need to carry the Google logo, but which includes a "no censorship" clause to protect other Android applications developed on them (no matter the risk involved). The third option is "obligation-free," where the devices have no preloaded Google applications, an environment in which Google has less control and where it is harder to predict how many devices of this type will hit the market.

Altogether eight to nine manufacturers will be producing these devices. Most of the devices should appear in Europe, according to Rubin. It seems carriers and makers in the U.S. want to produce relatively fewer but more highly distinctive Android mobile phones to give themselves a competitive edge.

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