All Aboard Google Android Next Week

T-Mobile sends out device launch invites but offers no handset details.
Posted September 20, 2008

Judy Mottl

Google Android

In just a few days one of the most highly anticipated mobile handsets takes center stage, and official details on the impending Google Android operating system and T-Mobile device are not being released.

While T-Mobile sent media invites today for a New York launch event on Sept. 23, neither the carrier or search engine giant are spilling any information except that several executives from both companies and other "company executives" will speak before showing off the first official handset.

"We can't provide much more than the invite," a T-Mobile spokesperson told Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) did not respond to e-mail and phone calls by press time.

The news comes as carriers and handset makers scramble to gain subscriber share, which analysts say is key to keeping revenues in the black. Analysts have said the device could pose the biggest competition yet to Apple's iPhone.

Initially touted as coming by end of the fourth quarter, rumors regarding the release swirled in late August when the Federal Communications Commission certified the Google software and the HTC phone met network standards.

While the launch has been speeded up, getting Android ready for the masses not been a quick process given Google acquired Android in 2005 and announced its mobile phone plans back in November 2007.

Android built under the auspices of the Open Handset Alliance, is a software bundle featuring an OS, some middleware, a user interface and applications.

An in-development device has reportedly been shown at developer and investor conferences this year, and leaked details indicate that it could be a compelling alternative to Apple's iPhone.

One flashy demo showed a startup screen full of colorful icons for launching programs and Web services with the touch of a finger. A finger flick of the status bar brought up pending actions such as an appointment or unread e-mail. The New York Times has previously reported that a touch screen will extendto a five-row keyboard. A Forbes article today said the device includes GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.

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