The Android operating system, powered by Google (NSDQ: GOOG), was considered a no-show at Mobile World Congress in February after only one device — the HTC Magic — was announced by Vodafone (NYSE: VOD). Last week, the operating system had an even smaller presence at CTIA after no new devices launched and operators and handset makers declined to say anything too specific. However, companies were quick to show interest in the operating system, and today, T-Mobile USA’s roadmap, featuring an Android tablet, was leaked to The New York Times.
People are eager to hear what is in store for Android because they are waiting to see how big of a market it will be, and trying to decide how many resources to commit to the platform. To be sure, it sounds promising. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) has named Android as the focus for its smartphone endeavors, but the company did not even acknowledge the platform’s existence at the show. Instead, it showed off it’s latest handset — the Evoke — which was built on its homegrown version of Linux. Samsung told Forbes last week that it will launch three Android handsets this year, two of which will be sold in the U.S. HTC is expected to build three more Android devices this year.
David Christopher, AT&T’s chief marketing officer for mobile and consumer markets, said during a CTIA press conference that “we are working with several devices for Android and are working with manufacturers to make sure it does what we want it to. We are watching Android very closely and are very interested to have AT&T (NYSE: T) experience on top of Android.” He said two things that have been holding it up: privacy and security concerns. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless’s Ryan Hughes, whose job is to weigh the pros and cons of the different operating systems, said there’s still a lot of things to figure out about Android. They are still trying to figure out how much customization to do and whether the only qualifications for an application is that it doesn’t take down the network or ruin the phone. “We are spending a lot of energy in this space.”
But frankly, until we see phones in consumers’ hands, it all sounds a bit squishy. Even Robert Dotson, T-Mobile USA’s CEO, only mentioned the word “Android” three times during his keynote, and he didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Maybe the leak of T-Mobile’s supposed plans for the platform may change people’s minds? The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) reported today that T-Mobile will sell a home phone early next year and soon after a tablet computer, both running Android. The phone will plug into a docking station and come with another device that handles data synchronization as it recharges the phone