The rumor mill is abuzz with speculation that Google is partnering with computing firm Dell to launch a mobile phone based on the web services giant’s fledgling Android OS. According to MarketingWeek, senior industry sources claim the two companies will reveal their collaboration at February’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, although Google insiders deny such an announcement is imminent.

There had been widespread talk of Google launching its own handset, known as the “Gphone”, to go up against Apple’s iPhone, which launched in November last year.

But Google announced the open source, Linux-based Android back in November 2007, and while the platform’s pitched as a Google initiative, it has plenty of support, mobile phone majors like Samsung and Motorola among them. Android’s tied firmly into Google’s online apps, and is essentially a way to get the advertising company’s ‘word from our sponsor’ wares out in front of eyes on the move.

Android, which will be available this year, will bring all of Google’s online services to mobile users. The Open Handset Alliance released an early version of the Android Software Development Kit, providing the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications on the Android platform.

At present, mobile phones use a variety of operating systems to access the internet, including systems from Microsoft and London-based Symbian.


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