(I can't post in the News section but put this on my site so you may be interested)..
SAN FRANCISCO -(Dow Jones)- As many as one dozen handset makers and chip companies are expected next week to unveil mobile phone prototypes designed to operate with Google Inc.'s (GOOG) new Android software platform, a source familiar with the situation said Friday.
One analyst said the number companies preparing to show off their wares at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona amounts to "a small but symbolic step" forward for the Internet search and advertising giant, which has set it sights on the nascent but potentially lucrative mobile ad market.
"Having prototypes is a signal, but not a promise, that the phones will be out there," said Bill Hughes, analyst at In-Stat consultancy.
Hughes said the success of Google's effort to develop a next-generation mobile phone will largely depend on convincing independent developers - whom Google is counting on to add all the bells and whistles to its mobile phone software - that there will be a broad market for their applications.
Without evidence that the Android project has momentum, developers will be unlikely to spend time designing applications for Google's mobile software.
Google is hoping its mobile phone initiative will one day enable wireless subscribers to easily surf the Internet without restrictions - and allow advertisers to reach consumers through their handsets.
Google declined to comment on a recent report that it planned show off a prototype of its own so-called "Gphone" next week, but a spokesman noted the company has been working with a number of partners to develop handset prototypes.
"We're very excited about the momentum building behind the platform as demonstrated by the number of companies that are supporting it with their technology," the spokesman said.
One prototype will belong to ARM Holdings PLC (ARM), a British company that develops architectural designs for chips and sells them to semiconductor manufacturers such Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), NEC Corp. (6701.TO) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE).
The company has said it will next week demonstrate a prototype of an ARM- powered handset running the Android platform. An ARM spokesperson declined to provide more details but cautioned that the prototype would not have all the features, or the final look and feel of a production device.
The Internet giant last November announced that month it had cobbled together an alliance of carriers, hardware makers and software companies to develop mobile phone software that it hopes will be the foundation for an industry based on open standards.
The announcement was seen as a disappointment, coming after months of speculation that Google was poised to unveil a handset that would compete with Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) popular but expensive iPhone.
It was not clear which other companies plan to demonstrate prototypes next week. Handset makers High Tech Computer Corp. (2498.TW), LG Electronics Inc. ( 066570.SE), Motorola Inc. (MOT) and Samsung, as well as chip makers such as Intel Corp. (INTC), Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) are all part of the Open Handset Alliance.
Google said last November that it expected the first Android phones would hit the market in the second half of 2008.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Google Inc expects a number of companies to demonstrate prototype devices using its much anticipated Android mobile operating system at the world's biggest wireless fair next week, a spokesman said on Friday.
But the Web search leader said the prototypes shown at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are no "indication of the devices consumers will ultimately see."
"Some will be showing an early prototype device that we used in the past to test the platform. Others may simply have circuit boards," Google spokesman Barry Schnitt said, without referring to any specific companies.
British chip designer ARM is expected to show one of the Android prototypes, a source close to the company told Reuters on Thursday.
Google plans to deploy the open source mobile phone system commercially in phones and services in the second half of 2008.
Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile and Taiwan's High Tech Computer have said they plan to sell phones based on Android this year.
Other companies involved in an alliance supporting the operating system include handset maker Motorola Inc and wireless chip company Texas Instruments Inc.