According to a Web report, there may be some problems with integrating the Google-led open-source mobile platform Android into devices, delaying the release of an Android phone until early next year.
The Barron's Tech Trader Daily Web site published a report Thursday that said the so-called "GPhone" cell phones, which are being manufactured by a variety of makers, could be delayed beyond the current expected release in late 2008. The site raises this possibility because one analyst, Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, is quoted as saying that handset maker High Tech Computer (HTC) is having "structural problems" incorporating Google's feature set.
The report follows recent assurances from HTC that its Android phones are on track.
Minimum Revenue Guarantee?
Chowdhry also said that not enough developers are being drawn to Android, because new software toolkits from Microsoft, Apple, Research in Motion and Nokia have lured developers to those established platforms. He also told Barron's that HTC is "demanding a guaranteed minimum revenue surety from Google, because it does not expect there will be enough demand for [the] GPhone."
However, a Google spokesperson told news media that "we remain on schedule to deliver the first Android-based handset this year, and we're very excited to see the momentum continuing to build [for] the Android platform among carriers, handset manufacturers, developers and consumers."
Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with industry research firm JupiterResearch, downplayed the report of a delay. "It's one rumor, based on speculation, relating to one manufacturer," he said, noting that HTC itself is saying that the device remains on schedule.
Last year, Google announced the open-source mobile platform, as well as dozens of companies who had joined in a new Open Handset Alliance. The alliance members include HTC, Motorola, T-Mobile and Qualcomm.
T-Mobile Also on Track
Android is a Linux-based software stack with an operating system, middleware, interface and applications. Android-based applications are written using Java and run on a custom virtual machine, called Dalvik, that has been designed for embedded mobile use and runs on top of a Linux kernel.
Initially, Google said that the first phones with Android would be released sometime in the second half of 2008. In June, a report in the Wall Street Journal indicated that the Android handsets would be coming out in the fourth quarter. Reportedly, Sprint Nextel and China Mobile won't release their Android phones until next year, but T-Mobile has said its devices are on track.
Unlike some other mobile platforms, Android is not tied to a particular device, but is expected to work on a variety of devices. Some observers are hoping for a new generation of interface approaches and applications, which could also help create a mix-and-match ecology that will take advantage of the new, "open device/open software" networks.
The energy surrounding Android was demonstrated at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco earlier this summer, which had nearly 3,000 developers in attendance.