updated 11:15 am EST, Thu February 28, 2008
Mystery Android Phone
A new, previously unspecified phone running Google's Android mobile OS has been spotted, courtesy of a new BBC video. The British news organization was told that the early, prototype device was manufactured by one of Google's partners in the project and veers away from the button-driven form seen in the initial example. The mystery device is almost entirely driven by a touchscreen and includes just a minimal set of physical controls for taking calls and jumping to familiar hotspots in the interface, such as the home screen.
The report also confirms that Google's current touch technology does not implement multi-touch gestures; instead, users rely on a pop-up scroll bar to zoom into websites and other content. Nonetheless, the Android example continues to support features inaccessible on its Apple counterpart and is capable both of a panoramic screen view in Google Maps as well as 3D gaming, which is helped in part by Android's Linux foundations. The interface is smooth despite running on a relatively old 300MHz processor.
Whether or not the prototype will translate to a real product is uncertain, though the previous QWERTY keyboard example is believed to be a demonstration model alone. Google's partners for building production phones so far include HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, most of whom are expected to start shipping Android phones late this year.