Android This Week: Google's Phone Plans and Some Non-Phone Moves

There is still substantial buzz surrounding this week’s launch of Google’s Android-based phone, the Nexus One, which Om has found to be the best Android phone on the market to date.  And Andy Rubin, VP of engineering at Google, weighed in on Google’s strategy, making clear that — among other things — more Google phones from various manufacturers are on the way. We also took note this week of the potential disruption that could come from Google’s web store, which is targeted to put Android-based superphones and more in users’ hands. In addition, we noted comments from Google Open Source Program Manager Chris DiBona as to how the company intends to preserve a level playing field (which may not be perfectly level) for phone manufacturers and Android app developers.

Of course, Android was all over this week’s CES show in Las Vegas, evidence of the ongoing Androidification of everything. There were Android tablet devices from Dell, Motorola and others, found in a variety of form factors. MIPS also showed an Android-based set-top box, one of several types of consumer electronics devices that the company wants developed around the OS.  MIPS is joined on the Android bandwagon by fellow chip company ARM, semiconductor design firms like Aricent and Mentor Graphics, and others. Meanwhile Freescale Semiconductor is working on an Android-based netbook design, and HP and Qualcomm showcased an Android netbook

Among Android-based phones at the CES show, Motorola got a lot of attention with its Backflip QWERTY-keyboard-based Android phone. You can actually navigate the phone with a finger on the backside.  Taps and double-taps are supported, as is mouse-pad style navigation.  AT&T also made waves at CES, when it announced that it will support five Android handsets this year.

The Android action at CES made clear that the operating system is moving beyond just phones, and is having a widespread impact on handset makers, carriers and developers. It’s hard to believe that only nine months ago, Android seemed completely stalled.