Despite an overwhelmingfrom Google's Android team, smartphones and other devices running the open-source operating system remain few and far between. As Crave's earlier this week, 2009 was supposed to be the "year of Android" and five months into the year, not a single new Android device has landed in the United States.
But it looks like Panasonic is getting closer to taking the plunge into non-Japanese markets as the company launches the HT-03a, its first Android-based device for NTT Docomo this summer in Japan.
Speaking at a press conference in Japan, Keisuke Ishii, board member and director of the Mobile Terminal Business Unit at Panasonic Mobile Communications, said the company is "seriously considering developing an Android-based handset and entering overseas mobile phone markets in fiscal 2010."
"The global market for smartphones based on open-source platforms including Android will reach 100 million units in three years," Ishii said. "We are discussing specific measures to succeed in such a large market."
It is good to see big vendors like Panasonic embrace open source, but I wonder how much, if anything they'll give back to the Android development community. I also wonder what changes are taking place in Android that will make it so much easier for companies to bring new products to market much faster. A hundred million is a big number and Android hasn't yet proven its mettle.
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