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HTC Dream Comes True; FCC Approves First Google Android Phone

The HTC Dream, billed as the first Google Android-powered open source device, has received approval from the FCC.

Google Communications open source

According to documents posted by the FCC on Monday, the HTC Dream has received approval. FCC approval, an important hurdle in the device development process, grants permission for wireless devices to be used in the U.S.

While details were scant -- thanks to a confidentiality request HTC filed with the FCC -- the documents hosted on the federal commission's Web site indicate that the HTC dream will operate on the 1700 WCDMA band, which is T-Mobile's 3G network. It will also support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0. The Dream will feature a GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/1900 radio. The device will also sport a "jog ball," which is likely similar to the navigation track ball featured on certain BlackBerry models like the Pearl and the Curve.

Rumors of the HTC Dream, also known as the HTC G1, began circulating in earnest last week when TmoNews, an unofficial T-Mobile blog, reported that the Dream will be the first Google Android-based device. Early reports indicated the Dream will be available for pre-order Sept. 17.

Last week, details indicated that the HTC Dream would feature a large 5-inch by 3-inch touch screen display and a sliding QWERTY keyboard, along with a 3-megapixel camera. Also making appearance last week was a video said to depict an HTC Dream in use.

While T-Mobile has not yet announced availability and service plans for the Dream, TmoNews said last week that users who buy the Dream will be required to use a Google Gmail email account. The device is expected to cost $399, but T-Mobile customers can grab on for $150 during an exclusive week-long pre-sale. Sales to the public will likely come in October, when the device will cost about $250.

Google has said that Android-based devices would hit the market by the end of 2008. That timeline was called into question, however, when reports surfaced indicating that Android-powered handsets had been plagued by delays and may not see the light of day until 2009. Google, for its part, has maintained that Android plans remained on schedule.

The first Google Android device, or GPhone, is good news for Google, which is facing tough competition on the open source and Linux mobile operating system front. Much like Google's Open Handset Alliance, two other groups are vying to create the open source devices of choice: 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 pair up and attack the market together.

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 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 to the entire mobile industry.

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