Google: Android-based HTC Dream may not be alone for long

Hot on the heels of FCC approval of HTC's "Dream" phone, Google has hinted to BetaNews that the "Dream" isn't the only Android phone already under way.

"To prepare for Android's public launch, we are testing the platform on a variety of devices," a Google spokesperson said, in an e-mail to BetaNews.

Documents on the US Federal Communications Commission's Web site now show that it has approved a handset of the type "Dream" and model name "DREA100," and that the same device has received a Wi-Fi Interoperability Certification for 802.11 b/g.

Meanwhile, a letter from HTC has come to light asking the FCC for confidentiality of "indefinite" duration around a set of attached documents that includes the schematic diagram, block diagram, theory of operation, and bill of materials for an unnamed piece of equipment.

Dated June 18, 2008, the letter from HTC senior manager Dalton Chuang also requests "short-term" confidentiality until November 10, 2008 of external, internal, and test set-up photos, in addition to a user manual.

It isn't exactly clear from the letter whether Chuang is referring to the Dream phone -- widely expected to emerge as the first device for Google's Android platform -- or some other device. But HTC officials have previously stated publicly that the manufacturer will come to market with an Android phone this year.

Likewise, officials of T-Mobile have issued public statements that the mobile provider will start offering an Android-enabled phone on its network by the end of this year, although they have shied away from specifically identifying that device.

Other documents now posted on the FCC's site reveal that the "DREA 100" has been tested both on WCDMA 1700 bands -- T-Mobile's preferred 3G frequency -- and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/1900 bands. There are references to a "jogball" on the "Dream" phone, as well as to compliance with Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR.

In previous e-mails to BetaNews, Google spokespersons have cited plans to offer the Android platform across a variety of devices and wireless networks. However, this week's e-mail is the first communication to BetaNews to acknowledge actual testing of Android on multiple devices.

BetaNews received the e-mail in answer to a request for confirmation or denial of details about an Android phone -- said to be the HTC Dream -- obtained by BusinessWeek magazine from Moe Tanabian, senior principal at IBB Consulting. Tanabian also raised questions about the availability of Microsoft Exchange support for the phone.

An article in BusinessWeek, based on Tanabian's account, refers to features that include pre-installed advertising software from Google and a trackball for one-handed navigation. Google had previously demo'd an earlier prototype of an Android-enabled phone for developers in June.

The full text of Google's statement to BetaNews follows:

To prepare for Android's public launch, we are testing the platform on a variety of devices. This process ensures we have an opportunity to receive feedback from users. We have nothing to announce at this time but look forward to sharing Android updates with you in the future.

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