There have been rumors about a supposed GPhone for quite some time now. People expected the phone to compete with Apple’s iPhone, but little did we know Google was doing something a bit different than we anticipated.

Instead of working on a single device that would run a mobile Google OS they have actually announced a more standalone mobile operating system. The free Linux-based OS is called Android, and it is available under a mobile open source license. They’ve partnered with 34 companies including Sprint, HTC, LG, T-Mobile, Motorola, Nvidia, and eBay to get the Android-powered devices in the hands of consumers by the latter half of 2008.

So why is Google making the announcement already? Next week they plan on releasing a Software Development Kit (SDK) to programmers so that they can already begin creating apps for the new OS. This is a very smart move by Google because there will already be some sweet apps by the time devices begin shipping with Android.

This is a pretty big step in mobile computing. Since the operating system will be offered at no cost we might even see a substantial drop in phone prices. One of the most appealing things, however, is that if Android takes off there will probably be a significant amount of applications being made for it.

Kudos once again to Google who have been contributing a lot to the open source community lately! I can’t wait to see Android in action next year.

[via Engadget]