When Google announced that it was getting in the smartphone OS market with its Android operating system, the news was met with a gamut of reactions from excitement to disdain. Some analysts wondered if there was room for another smartphone OS on the market, while many consumers welcomed the thought of a Google backed open source OS.
InformationWeek reports that Google's Andy Rubin has announced that there are at least 18 new handsets coming to market this year that will be running Android. The number of handsets could reportedly go as high as 20. Rubin says that the handsets will be made by as many as nine different manufacturers, though he declined to name specific companies.
InformationWeek reports that a few of the manufacturers that will offer Android smartphones are known including Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ASUS-Garmin, and Samsung. Samsung has already announced its Android-powered I7500 smartphone.
Google says that the open source Android OS is being offered to mobile phone makers three different ways. The first method allows the maker to simply download the Android OS and install it on their phones with no obligations to Google. However, phone makers using this route will not be able to bundle Google apps like Gmail or Google Calendar into the phone.
The second option is the most popular and it allows phone makers to offer Android bundled with preloaded apps, but allows the makers to customize the user interface to differentiate the devices in exchange for a signed user agreement.
The final method of getting Android onto a smartphone involves what Google calls the "Google Experience." Out of the 18 handsets coming this year, five or six are expected to go the full "Google Experience" monty where the maker has to agree to preload certain apps on the phone and offer complete access to the Android Market.