Androids, prepare for battle.

To the glory of open-source advocates and Microsoft haters, Google's Android operating system is hitting the runway with a massive force. If you visit the Android homepage, which showcases a swirling army of little robots, or the 14-company strong strategic alliance (ahem, business partnership) in the news section, I'm sure you'll agree that it feels like war is in the air.

For those of you familiar with the movie Antitrust, you might be reminded of the idealistic vision of one character to create open-source products and make a business/living off of support. Now, Google has turned the whole operation on its head: by becoming a major champion of open-source technology, they've actually generated even greater business success. How ironic.

At present, here is the lineup of vendors preparing their own bots for battle:

ASUS. ASUS has had great success with its line of netbooks, and has also released a Windows Mobile 6 smartphone. Now, ASUS has announced plans to release an Android phone in 2009.

Huawei. Huawei, a telecommunications company that has produced a few lines of low-end mobile phones, is expected to launch an Android phone in the first half of 2009.

HTC The T-Mobile G2. Even though the T-Mobile G1 (the first, and, at present, only Android phone) was released only months ago, HTC is already gearing up for the second creation. The most notable news so far is that they will be dropping the slide-out keyboard--one key functionality that set it apart from the iPhone. The G2 is expected to be released in May. Check out preliminary images and information here.

LG. LG already sports a massive array of mobile phones, and an Android device will be a welcome addition. While news in early 2008 was that LG's phone would be out in Q1 2009, it may end up releasing later in the year.

Motorola. The news has been out for awhile that Motorla's busy creating an Android champion. Preliminary information indicates the phone will have a slide-out keyboard and social networking integration.

Samsung. Samsung is planning to release an Android phone for both Sprint and T-Mobile this June. The phone will be a thin, touch-screen device based on the Samsung Instinct.

Sony Ericsson. Technology giant Sony Ericsson is planning to release an Android phone in mid-2009. Sony's entry, of course, will provide added credibility to the still-fledgling OS.

Toshiba. Amidst some surprise, computer supplies manufacturer Toshiba is also planning an Android phone. Expect the phone's release sometime in 2009.

With this fleet of Android bots on the horizon, all Google can do is wait and see. The success of Android lies in the hands of these select manufacturers, who may propel the OS into success or doom it for failure based on the popularity of these first phones. If consumer (and potentially enterprise) uptake is positive, then Android may become the new standard OS for smartphones (or at least a major contender).

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