Report: HTC Android handset not coming until 2009

One of the most prominent supporters of Google's Android mobile phone software is reportedly having trouble putting a phone together and might have to delay the project.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
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.
Tom Krazit
2 min read
The clock may not be on Google's side as it tries to get the first Android handsets out to the public. Google

Updated 4:20pm with comment from Google

Another report has surfaced predicting a delay in the introduction of handsets with Google's Android software.

Unlike The Wall Street Journal report from a few weeks ago, which said that Android would be delayed from Google's stated expectations of the second half of 2008 to, um, the second half of 2008, this one is a bit more pointed. Barron's Tech Trader Daily picked up a research note from Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research saying that his "contacts" are saying that HTC's Android handset is being delayed until the first quarter of 2009.

In case you're new to this part of the Google empire, Android is a Linux-based collection of mobile phone software, including an operating system, a browser, and other applications. The company announced Android to much fanfare last year as a bid to unify the world of mobile Linux and set up Google as a dominant player on the next big computing frontier. HTC was expected to be one of the first handset makers to release an Android handset.

One good thing about Thursday's report is that Google has apparently settled on a required list of applications and features that need to accompany any phone with the Android logo: that was up in the air as recently as a few months ago. The problem, however, is that HTC is having "structural problems" making that feature list run on one of its phones, according to the report.

The other problem for Google raised by the report is that software developers are said to have their hands full with the mobile phone software that's actually available for development, such as Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry, and the iPhone. HTC is worried enough about a lack of attention as to demand a "minimum revenue guarantee" from Google in exchange for launching an Android handest.

E-mails to Google representatives were not immediately returned, but I'll update if I hear back from them.

UPDATED 4:20pm: A Google representative said the company doesn't comment on speculation, which is just no fun at all, but said "we remain on schedule to deliver the first Android-based handset this year and we're very excited to see the momentum continuing to build behind the Android platform among carriers, handset manufacturers, developers and consumers."