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T-Mobile to carry Android phone by year's end

Company executive promises an Android-enabled device in the fourth quarter of this year.

A T-Mobile executive said Wednesday that the carrier will offer a Google Android cell phone by the end of 2008.

At a wireless conference in Redwood City, Calif., Joe Sims, vice president and general manager of T-Mobile USA's Broadband and new Business Division, said that he has seen prototypes of an Android handset, and that the first in a series of devices will be available in the final quarter of this year.

Sims confirmed an earlier announcement by T-Mobile International CEO Hamid Akhavan at February's GSMA World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. During a news conference, Akhavan promised a fourth-quarter launch, but he did not specify which of the carrier's markets would get it first.

T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to set a launch date for an Android device. Though it is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, as of December a T-Mobile representative would not confirm that the carrier would even offer an Android phone. Sprint and Verizon Wireless are also members of the alliance, but the two carriers have remained silent on when, or even if, they'll launch devices.

Sims did not drop any details on the promised device, though HTC is rumored to be developing a device called the Dream. Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG are members of the Open Handset Alliance as well.

Though U.S. carriers have long resisted open platforms like Android, T-Mobile's adoption of the platform is another sign of how carriers have begun to loosen the reins. According to, Sims said that though the carrier was at first skeptical, T-Mobile now views Android as a way to encourage innovation and customer choice.