HTC's CEO revealed today that his company is definitely going to release three smartphones running Google's Android OS this year, and maybe more.
Peter Chou was at a Merrill Lynch conference, and was asked to confirm a report that HTC will release five Android-based devices in 2009.
The details on one of these are already well known: the HTC Magic was announced last month. But so far the others have yet to be announced.
Perhaps the HTC Memphis?
Early this year, HTC's 2009 product roadmap leaked out, apparently listing all the smartphones it has on the drawing board (see here).
Among these was the HTC Memphis, which has a tablet shape with a landscape-oriented keyboard (see image at right). Its design is somewhat similar to the HTC Touch Pro2 -- a Windows Mobile-based phone -- but it's different enough to not seem part of the same series. And the various versions of the HTC Touch Pro2 all have code-names that are metals (Barium, Tungsten, etc.) and "Memphis" doesn't fit that pattern.
This could easily be one of the upcoming Android models, as it appears to have a track-ball on its front. It might be a competitor or the replacement for the HTC Dream, which was released as the T-Mobile G1 -- the first device running Google's smartphone operating system to hit the market.
And Possibly the HTC Hero
There were two other models on the HTC roadmap that could be Android models: the Sapphire and the Hero. The model code-named Sapphire is being released as the HTC Magic, leaving the Hero as the top candidate as HTC's third Android-based model for this year.
This model resembles the G1 but without a built-in keyboard (see image at left). The Magic uses this same general shape, but with a more curved design. It's possible these two models have essentially the same internal hardware, but with different designs targeting different customers.
HTC's Commitment to Android
It comes as no surprise that HTC is working on additional smartphones running Android. Company executives and representatives has repeatedly said HTC is committed to this new platform.
It had originally hoped to have multiple Android-based models on the market last year, but the operating system ran into delays in development which pushed back the release of all models based on it to the point that only the G1 made it out.
More about Android
Android is a new consumer-oriented mobile operating system. It was created by Google with input from a variety of companies who have joined the Open Handset Alliance. Not surprisingly, Android is strongly tied to Google's online services, like Gmail and Google maps.
There is a growing collection of third-party software for this platform, and support for it among carriers and device makers is also growing. For example, Sprint is going to release later this year an Android-based model created by Samsung, while Motorola, Acer, and others are also prepping phones running this platform
Source: PC World
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