Google has finally announced their plans to enter the mobile phone market. Here comes "Android", an open platform and operating system for mobile phones.
From their phone conference:
"Google along with 33 other companies are announcing Android, the first truly integrated mobile operating system. ... What's particularly notable is that it's available under a mobile open source license. It's incredibly important to say that this is NOT an announcement of the 'Gphone'... we hope there will be thousands of 'Gphones'..."
HTC plans to release the first Android-equipped phone in the 2nd half of 2008. This should give Apple some time to adjust the iPhone and allow the 3rd party apps to get going after the SDK is released.
Android is Linux based and more announcements about the software should be revealed in the next week or two.
The OS is hardware flexible, which means it could show up on lower end phones as well as smartphones.
However, they note that just because the OS is open, doesn't mean the phones will be. It will still be up to the carriers to decide if the phones they support will be content-locked. Google doesn't think this will happen, though.
The focus of Android is developer based and Google and their partners see it as a way to better deliver content to phones.