Back in November, Google finally put to rest the rumors that they were developing a Gphone by announcing that they were actually working on a standalone mobile operating system called Android. At the time of the announcement, they said they were working with 34 different companies like Sprint, T-Mobile, HTC, LG, and more, and that they hoped to have Android powered devices available to consumers by the 2nd half of the year. As Google is learning with this huge undertaking, even they aren’t immune from delays.
According to the Wall Street Journal, not only is the launch of Android-powered devices going to be delayed, but they also won’t be able to iron out deals with all of the carriers they originally expected right away. At this point they’re expecting T-Mobile to be the first to release a phone sometime during the 4th quarter this year. Another mobile phone carrier called China Mobile was originally going to launch a device in the 3rd quarter of this year, but now they’re estimating a launch late this year or even early in 2009. As for Sprint, they may just hold out on releasing an Android-powered device until the 4G network is available because Google hasn’t been able to dedicate time to work with them. They’ve spent too much of their time with T-Mobile. WSJ.com says (regarding Sprint):
Sprint is now considering scrapping plans for an Android phone for its current third-generation broadband network and developing one that will work on the faster “4G” network it is helping to fund along with several partners, including Google.
Google has seemed untouchable for such a long time that we don’t think people were expecting any sort of delay with Android. As Google is learning though, entering the mobile market for the first time isn’t easy. Andy Rubin who is the director of mobile platforms at Google knows this and says, “This is where the pain happens. We are very, very close.”