updated 11:50 am EST, Tue December 9, 2008
Open Handset Adds 14
The Open Handset Alliance today said it has added 14 new members to its group in a move that will bolster support for Google's new Android operating system. The new roster includes phone manufacturers such as ASUS, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba as well as prominent chipmakers like ARM and Atheros as well as carriers Softbank and Vodafone. GPS device maker Garmin is also included in the list.
Every member is expected to support Android and the concept of open phone platforms in at least some capacity, including supporting the launch of Android devices, writing code to add to Android, or developing hardware based on Android itself.
The expansion puts most major phone manufacturers on Google's side following previous additions that involve HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung. All of these either are or are planning to make phones based on Android in the near future. Sony Ericsson in particular has made plans to drop its Symbian-based UIQ platform in favor of Android for some phones by late 2009.
With the move as well as multiple Android phones now scheduled for 2009, Google's software will be one of the larger contenders for mobile market share. World sales are currently dominated by Symbian, courtesy of Nokia, but have also seen Symbian decrease in influence after the launch of the iPhone and heated competition from other smartphone-focused platforms like the BlackBerry OS.