Android’s Open Handset Alliance Adds 14 Members

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The Open Handset Alliance, which is responsible for the Android operating system, announced 14 new members today, and received commitments by handset makers, like Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) and Huawei, to deploy Android-based phones. The new members are: AKM Semiconductor, ARM, ASUSTek Computer, Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International, Huawei Technologies, Omron Software Co. Ltd, Softbank Mobile, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD). In total the organization, formed by Google (NSDQ: GOOG), has a total of 47 members. Release.

By becoming a member, the Open Handset Alliance says the companies are committing to deploying Android devices, and contributing code back into the project, or supporting the ecosystem, but it will be interesting to see which companies are the most aggressive. In the release, Sony Ericsson confirmed its intention to develop a handset based on the Android platform. Rikko Sakaguchi, CVP and head of Creation and Development of Sony Ericsson, said: “We believe Sony Ericsson can bring a wealth of experience in making consumer focused multimedia handsets with new user experience to the Alliance drawing on the successes of the Walkman and Cyber-shot sub-brands.” Li Jilin, VP of Huawei Communications, also announced its intentions to bringing an Android device to market. “By participating in the Open Handset Alliance and adopting the Android platform, Huawei enhances its handset strategy for worldwide markets….Huawei is committed to deploy Android devices toward 2009. ”

After being a little bit late to the game, it seems the Android community is becoming as vibrant as the LiMo Foundation, which supports Linux mobile OS’s. According to the LiMo Foundation’s Web site, it has 51 members, including a lot of overlapping members from Android. Nokia (NYSE: NOK), which recently closed the acquisition of Symbian, is also working quickly on turning its operating system into open source. Likely, companies will hedge their bets by working with all three until one or two pulls away from the pack.

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Sony Ericsson and Vodafone bode very well. Those 2 alone could put one handset, priced reasonably, in the hands of a great many subscribers.

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