Samsung and LG bring Google phone to market

15 Feb 2008

While rumours of a Dell-Google collaboration on a handset did not come to fruition at this week’s World Mobile Congress 2008 in Barcelona, mobile manufacturers Samsung and LG have both confirmed they will be unveiling phones running on Google’s open source Android operating system by the year’s end.

The difference between Android and other mobile operating systems (OS), such as Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, is that as an open source system the code is free to any developer to take the bare bones OS provided by Google and build upon or customise it.

While most mobile handsets come with basic functionality which is hardwired in by the manufacturer and cannot be changed, phones running on Android can have customised menus and dialling functionality.

German mobile operator T-Mobile also expressed interest in using the Android platform and chief executive, Hamid Akhavan, said the company will most likely have an Android device on the market near the end of 2008.

Android, which was released by Google in December 2007, is part of the Open Handset Alliance along with other major mobile players including T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and China Mobile.

Originally speculators had assumed that there would be a single ‘Gphone’ or Google phone but the alliance and the open format points to an OS which will be used across many different manufacturers.

In the meantime, Google has upgraded the SDK (Software Developers Kit) that allows third parties to work on Android: there are new applications, new animations and increased functionality.

By Marie Boran