A slew of mobile phone manufacturers are set to bring Android handsets to market this year, Google’s director of mobile platforms has revealed, as the operating system looks set to overcome a slow start and mount a challenge for dominance in the smartphone sector.
Despite the launch of the operating system in 2007, the first Android powered handset only appeared in November last year in the form of the T-Mobile G1. However, in the short time the phone it has been available it has defied the slowdown in consumer spending to sell one million units.
The G1 has since been followed by the HTC Magic, which is thought to have made a similarly large impact with consumers and was the subject of a sustained ‘buzz’ on technology sites.
Speaking at the I/O developers conference in San Francisco, Andy Rubin of Google claimed that between 18 and 20 Android mobile phones are due for release this year and that the delay in the arrival of Android phones had been caused by the 18-month lead-in time required to build the handsets.
Prior to his announcement, it was widely known that Android phones are being planned by Samsung in the form of the I7500 and the Bigfoot. As-yet-unnamed devices from Sony Ericsson and Nokia are also expected soon.
According to Mr Rubin, the new releases will come from 8 or 9 manufacturers, suggesting that a number of industry players who have yet to unveil plans will do so imminently. It is thought that these are likely to include LG, Asus and Toshiba.
Signs that industry is throwing its weight behind Android comes in the wake of studies showing that high-end communications devices are bucking the sales downturn that has afflicted mid-range and cheap mobile phones.
The imminent arrival of so many Android phones is likely to further heighten the stakes in what is already shaping up to be a battle royale between manufacturers this summer.
June and July alone are set to see the arrival of the Palm Pre, the Nokia N97 and the third-generation iPhone.