Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 28, 2009
Speaking at a Google conference, executive Andy Rubin has just announced that 18 to 20 smartphones based on cell-phone operating system called Android will arrive later this year. They’ll be made by eight to nine different manufacturers.
Better yet, Android maker, the Google-lead Open Handset Alliance consortium, has struck formal distribution agreements with most of these manufacturers. Android is available for free, no strings attached, but that version lacks features such as Gmail. Fuller versions require the manufacturer to sign an agreement with the OHA, and to contribute to enriching Android features.
Clearly, Android is gaining traction. In addition to the 18 phones, a slew of netbook manufacturers are expected to embed Android into their devices this year. What’s more, developers have already created nearly 5,000 apps for the Android Marketplace, which sells games and productivity applications for Android-based devices. A year ago, many analysts thought the software was nothing more than a gimmick, a negotiating tool to be used by Google to push back against rivals like Microsoft. Now, it’s becoming clear that Google is serious about making Android a success — and that Android is becoming successful.