ARM is not showing an Android phone at 3GSM

Sometimes so much speculation surrounds an event that some might feel it's safe to simply presume it happened at the time predicted. But ARM confirmed to BetaNews it has not produced a portable handset prototype that runs Android.

Despite an abundance of speculation over the weekend that leading mobile processor manufacturer ARM would be demonstrating one of the first of many prototype handsets running Google's Android platform at the 3GSM Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and despite the proliferation of photographs this morning purporting to actually be of that prototype, ARM's chief US spokesperson told BetaNews this afternoon that no such demonstration took place.

But there was a demonstration of something, said ARM US Corporate Communications Director Erik Ploof. That something is a prototype machine -- not a handset -- that's based on an ARM processor and that runs the Open Handset Alliance's Android prototype program.

"There has been speculation in the press that ARM will be hosting a demonstration of a Google phone at...Mobile World Congress in Barcelona," Ploof told us. "This is not the case. ARM has invited a group of attending journalists to view a demo of an ARM Powered prototype of the Android platform from the Open Handset Alliance. ARM has not indicated the announcement or existence of a Google phone."

"This is a prototype that does not have the final features or look and feel of a production device," he added.

One story from a prominent British news source claimed to have been present for the demonstration of the ARM phone. But that story also explicitly quotes an ARM representative at the show explaining to the reporter that it is not showing a phone, but instead a working prototype of a processor running an Android platform. That quote preceded a description of the applications the reporter supposedly used on the handset during the demonstration.

A very important element of prototypes such as ARM's is the fact that it cannot operate as a telephone. Thus, many of the applications listed probably were not seen in the context of communication.

Meanwhile, Engadget has posted a gallery of what appears to be a similar prototype device running Android constructed by Texas Instruments. However, Engadget also managed to get pictures of Android running in a portable device apparently assembled by TI, whose appearance and layout is reminiscent of a Palm device from four years ago or more.

Though there were cosmetic differences in the screen contents between the prototype circuit board and prototype handset, there were enough trademark elements to link the two together.

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