Google believes its Android operating system will continue to have a big 2009, with eight or nine manufacturers creating 18 to 20 different Android-based devices throughout the rest of the year. The remarks were made by Andy Rubin, who serves as the senior director for mobile platforms at Google, during the Google I/O conference.
The 18 to 20 estimate already includes the previously released G1 and HTC Magic phones, which are available in the United States and Europe — though there are several new manufacturers who have hopped on board without working directly with Google.
The mobile OS will continue to be fully open source, with each manufacturer electing to use Android on their devices "obligation-free."
The basic licensing tier includes open access to the OS, but device manufacturers are not allowed to preload Google’s applications on the phone. One tier up an official agreement is necessary with Google so the company’s software can be offered on the phone. The highest tier includes a Google logo on the devices, but at the cost the manufacturer won’t stop access to Google’s Android Market.
A more in-depth look at each licensing tier is available in this blog posted on the New York Times web site.
There are still many skeptics who openly criticize the Android OS — and sometimes rightfully so — but the growing number of manufacturers using the OS indicate there are good things happening. Consumers are able to purchase phones with more robust environments, while manufacturers are able to focus more on hardware and less on software.