Google refutes Android device delay, cites T-Mobile plans

Disputing rumors that the first Android-enabled phone won't ship until 2009, a Google spokesperson today pointed BetaNews to "public statements" made by T-Mobile as corroboration.

Rumors of an Android delay were raised this week in a blog posting by The Street's Gary Krakow, who cited only information supplied to him by a "source familiar with the situation."

In an update yesterday to his original post, Krakow published a denial from a Google spokesperson, which read as follows: "We're still on track to announce Android-powered phones this year. Some of our partners are publicly stating that they plan to ship Android phones in the fourth quarter."

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Contacted by BetaNews today, Google's press team confirmed the accuracy of the statement that appeared in Krakow's update.

As published in The Street, however, Google's statement did not specifically name any partners. When asked by BetaNews to identify partners with plans to ship Android this year, a spokesperson replied: "T-Mobile has made public statements."

Google is currently working on Android with more than 30 partners through the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), including carriers such as T-Mobile, semiconductor manufacturers, software vendors, "commercialization companies," and four handset makers: HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and LG.

Indeed, T-Mobile has been quoted in various venues as promising to ship Android handsets in 2008, including comments from Joe Sims, its VP of broadband and new business, speaking at the Wireless Innovations 2008 Conference in April.

The identity of the company that will manufacture the first Android handsets for T-Mobile and others remains less clear. However, HTC's CEO, Peter Chou, and its CMO, John Wang, have already been quoted in an assortment of publications as saying that HTC will ship an Android device this year.

HTC -- a Taiwanese company which also makes hardware for the Windows Mobile platform -- is reputedly working on an Android-enabled device dubbed the Dream.

"But there won't be just one 'Android device,'" another Google spokesperson told BetaNews, in a phone call later today. "We're hoping that our partners will produce a variety of devices."

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