Android phone may have Google ads, but no Exchange support

With Google still touting the first Android phone for late 2008, reports state the forthcoming HTC "Dream" phone might lack support for Microsoft Exchange, and further, that it will come with Google's advertising software pre-installed.

After showing a primitive prototype of the initial Android phone at CES in January, Google gave demos of features in May that included a new interface and menu structure, a built-in compass, a port of the Pac-Man game, and access to Google Maps. One blogger who viewed the phone in May, Vincent Nguyen, exclaimed at that time, "The HTC Android Dream phone is a worthy competitor to the [iPhone] 2.0."

Over the past few days, however, Moe Tanabian, senior principal at IBB Consulting, has given a fuller account to BusinessWeek magazine, pointing to a feature set that might not seem as favorable to everyone.

For one thing, HTC Dream phone users who want to receive push e-mail will need to resort to the Google-owned Gmail service. It's unclear right now whether the phone will support Exchange, according to BusinessWeek.

Also, Google's online platform will serve up ads to customers aimed at meeting location and interests, as provided by the phone, Tanabian said. Reportedly, however, users will only get the ads if they opt in for receiving them -- and it's possible that users who do opt in will be able to buy the phone at a lower price and pay lower monthly service fees, too.

On the other hand, the phone will reportedly have access to a forthcoming App Store from T-Mobile, somewhat along the same lines as Apple's store for third-party iPhone applications.

Tanabian is also predicting that more software applications might be available for the Dream than for the iPhone, reasoning that T-Mobile is likely to place fewer restrictions on software developers around applications.

The Dream phone will also feature a trackball for one-handed navigation, and the analyst believes that its phone screen will be bigger than the iPhone's.

In the future, the Android-enabled phone might also hook into T-Mobile's Hotspot @Home service, for unlimited Wi-Fi-assisted calling from the phone or office, according to the analyst.

Google confirmed to BetaNews in June that some of its Android partners have been publicly articulating plans to ship Android-based phones in the fourth quarter of this year. This would peg release at somewhere between October and December. Officials of HTC and T-Mobile have each issued statements to that effect.

Citing unnamed sources, a report in The New York Times late last week said that Google, HTC, and T-Mobile hope to officially announce the first Android-based phone in September -- so as to get a good jump on the holiday season -- but that they can't release the phone until the FCC certifies that the HTC device and Google software meet network standards.

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