The Google announcement cometh

We shared last week that Google was in talks with Verizon, among others, regarding this software. However, with the 700 MHz spectrum auction — er, Auction 39 — coming and the fundamental differences between the companies, we weren’t quite sure they’d come to an agreement on a mobile platform. And they haven’t. T-Mobile and Sprint are the partnered carriers in the U.S., giving Google a CDMA and a GSM carrier. Over the rest of the world, Google will work with China Telecom, NTT DeCoMo and KDDI — leading Japanese carriers — T-Mobile in Germany, Telecom Italia in Italy, and Telefonica in Spain.

The 34-member Open Handset Alliance, as the group is called, also includes many of the leading makers of mobile phone chips, like Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, as well as SiRF Technology Holdings, Marvell Technology Group, Nvidia and Synaptics. EBay (which owns the Internet calling service Skype), Nuance Communications, NMS Communications and Wind River Systems are also members of the group.
The software will be open source, which means that in addition to being free, it will be customizable for handset manufacturers. This puts Google in the same league as Apple, Microsoft, Palm, and other mobile OS makers — maybe even a step up.
“We are not building a GPhone; we are enabling 1,000 people to build a GPhone,” said Andy Rubin, Google’s director of mobile platforms, who led the effort to develop the software.
We’re hoping this story doesn’t fade away. We’d be interested to hear developments. For instance, will the overall functionality of phones change with this software, or are we looking at old phones with new operating systems? All we know now is that it’s called Android. And you can look for it next year. [New York Times]]]>

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