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G phone no, G-OS yes

Search engine giant Google dispels G-phone rumours by announcing entire new phone platform

Pledging to unleash innovation for mobile users worldwide, Google today announced the development of Android, which the firm claims is the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices.

Collaborated upon with such telecommunications stalwarts as T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola, Android came into being through the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.

Although there are nearly three billion mobile phone users worldwide, Google reckons that to date the lack of a collaborative software effort has made it a real challenge for developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers to respond quickly to the changing needs of savvy mobile consumers.

Through Android however, developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers will be better positioned to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost, Google predicts. The firm suggests the main three benefits of its approach are:

1) It will allow the industry to decrease the time it spends integrating separate systems and to put more resources into developing new products for consumers.

2) It will allow mobile phone manufacturers to customise the platform so they can bring innovative new handsets to market much faster and at much lower cost than now.

3) It will provide consumers with more customer-friendly, less expensive mobile phones, enabling them to take full advantage of the Internet while on the move.

The open-source Android platform is a fully integrated mobile ‘software stack' consisting an operating system, middleware, and user-friendly interface and applications on top. Google is suggesting that consumers should see the first phones based on Android to appear in the second half of next year.

"This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world. A fresh approach to fostering innovation in the mobile industry will help shape a new computing environment that will change the way people access and share information in the future," said Google's chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt.

He added, "Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."

The smart handheld devices - such as PDAs and smartphones - currently on the market employ various software operating systems, however Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform and Symbian by far lead the way.