Android phones as early as this fall?

Google has told the world to expect the first phones with its operating system in the second half of this year, but they might be out sooner rather than later.

A Google executive may have inadvertently tipped the wireless industry's hand on the launch time frame for Android phones.

Ever since introducing Android, a mobile-phone operating system, last November, Google has said that Android-loaded phones would be available in the second half of this year. However, on Monday, Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media counsel, put a finer grain on the launch expectations during a conference call about Google's plans for the "white spaces" spectrum , saying the phones could be out as soon as summer or fall of this year.

This Android prototype, show at Mobile World Congress in February, could be a shipping product by fall. Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

After the call, Google representatives reiterated that the launch expectations for Android phones were unchanged at "second half of 2008," emphasizing that the exact launch schedule is up to Google's partners. However, Google is likely privy to that schedule, since they'd probably want to show up for the party or something, and just about all of summer--and all of fall--takes place during the second half of the year.

The debut of an Android phone in the summer or early fall could give Google and its partners a chance to test the market during the back-to-school or holiday shopping bonanzas in the second half of the calendar year. IDG News Service reported last week that HTC was developing an Android phone called "Dream," that would be out "near the end of this year."

The report also said that Samsung was racing with HTC to get an Android phone out the door, meaning perhaps other handset makers have accelerated their plans.

CNET News.com's Anne Broache contributed to this report.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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