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18 Android Phones, In 3 Flavors, By Year's End 152

Hugh Pickens writes "Andy Rubin, senior director for Mobile Platforms for Google, has announced that by the end of the year there will be 18 to 20 phones using the Android OS made by 8 or 9 different manufacturers. Google will offer three different versions of Android OS: a completely free and generic flavor with no pre-loaded Google applications; a slightly customized version that comes pre-loaded with Google apps like Gmail and Google Calendar; and a completely 'Google-fied' Android OS bearing all sorts of Google branding and integration with Google's services. Will Park reports that the expectation is that 12 to 14 of the upcoming Android phones will use the slightly-customized version of Google's Android OS requiring the manufacturer to agree to a distribution deal with Google that would allow the handsets to come pre-installed with Google-ware. The remaining 5 or 6 Android phones will come to market completely decked out with 'The Google Experience' and a Google logo on the phone. This third option provides risk and reward opportunities because the openness of the store could be a hit with consumers, but could also lead to poorly constructed or offensive applications that could give Google a taint. When it comes to apps, Rubin says: 'We want to abide by the law, but not rule with an open fist.'" Yes, it seems he really said "open fist," though he probably meant "iron fist."

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