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Is The First Google Android Device Coming Sooner Than Expected?

The first Google Android-powered device could be ready sooner than expected, with presales rumored to start in just five weeks.

Google open source

TmoNews, which calls itself the "unofficial T-Mobile blog," said the first Android-powered device could go up for presale on Sept. 17, which goes against original rumors that Android-based devices have been plagued by delays and most likely won't hit the streets until next year at the earliest.

Throughout the chatter, Google has maintained that Android plans remain on schedule and the release of an actual Android-based device would cement that.

The first Android-powered device will be manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese device maker, and dubbed the G1; short for "Google One," one can only assume. TmoNews, quoting insiders, said the G1 will have a large 5-inch by 3-inch touchscreen display and a sliding QWERTY keyboard, along with a 3-megapixel camera. It will also operate on the 3G network. The HTC G1 is reportedly the latest iteration of the HTC Dream, originally slated to be the first Android-based device. Video of the HTC Dream has surfaced recently.

If those specs are correct, the HTC G1 could pose a serious threat to the Apple iPhone 3G. The G1 will have a larger screen compared to the iPhone's 3.5-inch multitouch display. And the iPhone 3G offers only a 2-megapixel camera.

Word is the G1 will command a $399 price tag, but T-Mobile customers can snag it for $150 during an exclusive week-long pre-sale. Public sales will likely come in October with the HTC G1 running $250 for a short time.

While no service plans for the HTC G1 have been announced, TmoNews said it will require its own data plan from T-Mobile. It will also likely require users to have a Google Gmail account for the phone to work.

The 3G Android-powered device is also expected to come in three colors: black, white and brown. So far there have been no mentions of whether the device will support UMA or Wi-Fi.

Google Android and his 30-plus partner Open Handset Alliance face an uphill battle in the open source and Linux mobile operating system world, competing against rivals the Symbian Foundation and the LiMo Foundation.

The non-profit Symbian Foundation, announced in June, took the open source world by storm. Launched by Nokia, the foundation features key partnerships with Sony Ericsson, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, ATandT, Samsung, LG Electronics, Texas Instruments and a host of others to extend a unified mobile software platform. Industry analysts have said the Symbian Foundation could beat out Google's Android as the open source mobile platform of choice, prompting rumors that Android and Symbian may eventually partner up.

Another contender looking to steal Android's thunder is the LiMo Foundation, which earlier this month added a host of new partners and several new Linux-based devices to its lineup. The open-source mobile consortium, which launched in January 2007, has increased its ranks to more than 50 partner companies in its drive to deliver an open handset platform for the entire mobile industry.

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