LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) -- It's a year late, but AT&T (T - Get Report) says it is finally climbing onboard with the Google (GOOG - Get Report) Android craze.

Speaking at the company's Developer Summit during the Consumer Electronics Show, Ralph De La Vega, AT&T's president of mobility consumer products, explained that the company will start offering Android phones from Motorola ( MOT), Dell ( DELL) and HTC during the first half of 2010. Plans to sell two Palm ( PALM) phones, presumably the Pre and Pixi, are imminent as well.
Dell Phone

Motorola CEO Sanjay Shah was one of many industry execs who briefly joined De La Vega on stage during his presentation and explained that his company's phone will be the first Android phone on AT&T's network.

Ma Bell, whose exclusive deal to sell Apple's ( AAPL - Get Report) iPhone ends this year, nonetheless faces some major challenges. Earlier this week, Google unveiled its first phone, the Nexus One, naming AT&T's arch-rivals Verizon ( VZ - Get Report) and T-Mobile as partners.

During his keynote at the Palms Casino, De La Vega said that AT&T supports twice as many smartphones as its nearest competitor.

AT&T, which announced a multi-year development agreement with Microsoft ( MSFT) earlier this week, is also focusing attention on its midrange phones and unveiled a new mobile platform -- dubbed Brew -- that will be built in conjunction with Qualcomm ( QCOM).

"When we developed Brew, we wanted to make sure that developers could get down to the metal," said Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's CTO. "It has got the functionality and the power to go on a higher-end device."

De La Vega explained that Samsung will be AT&T's first Other Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to use Brew. He hopes that by 2011, 90% of the company's quick messaging devices will use the new platform.

The telecom firm also unveiled a new software developer's kit and a new emerging devices lab in Austin, Texas.

"App growth is soaring," said De La Vega, adding that about 832 million mobile applications were downloaded in the U.S. last year, a nine-fold increase since 2007. "At the same time revenues from these downloads are increasing as well."

-- Reported by James Rogers in Las Vegas and Scott Moritz in New York