Samsung confirms first Android device imminent

Samsung Electronics is the latest manufacturer to hop aboard the Android bandwagon, promising it will introduce its first device based on the Google mobile OS sometime this year. According to Samsung, it will sell the touchscreen device via T-Mobile USA (home of the HTC-produced G1, the first commercial Android-based device) and Sprint Nextel. "We are accelerating the development process for Google phone in order to meet the specific need of local carriers," a Samsung official said in a statement--the device maker did not offer additional details, including pricing.

The unnamed Samsung smartphone is not the only Android-powered device scheduled to hit stores in the months ahead: HTC is reportedly poised to launch its second Android handset, although this time the touchscreen device will also incorporate Linux-based software developed by HTC itself. In November, Motorola also staked its future on developing Android- and Windows Mobile-based smartphones. CEO Sanjay Jha said the beleaguered handset maker will delay a proposed spinoff of its mobile devices unit as it accelerates efforts to develop smartphones that resonate with consumers, with Motorola hoping to introduce its first Android handset in time for the 2009 holiday shopping season.

Speculation that Sprint will soon introduce its first Android phone hit a crescendo in mid-December, when Google vice president of mobile technology Rich Miner keynoted the operator's annual Application Developer Conference. Sprint is a founding member of the Google-led Open Handset Alliance, the industry group formed in 2007 in conjunction with Android's launch. However, in late October 2008, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told the National Press Club he doesn't believe Android in its present form is "good enough to put the Sprint brand on it." Still, Hesse hedged his bets by promising the operator would introduce an Android-powered device "at some time in the future."

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