NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In an attempt to catch up with the Apple (AAPL) - Get Report iPhone, Google (GOOG) - Get Report has been racking up Android phone partners at a fast clip. The search giant's burgeoning Android operating system was hot news at last week's CTIA show in Las Vegas, with Sprint (S) - Get Report, AT&T (T) - Get Report and Dell (DELL) - Get Report among the handful of telco and tech shops beating the Android drum.
Google's got good reason to viciously stake a claim in the smartphone market. Research outfit Strategy Analytics says that
grew by a massive 30% during the fourth quarter, which ultimately helped drive
Tech analyst firm IDC also expects the Android system to mount a major offensive -- and not just against Apple's iPhone OS. IDC sees Google swiping at
Research In Motion
and the Symbian operating system, which is championed by
. IDC predicts that by 2013, Android will be the No. 2 operating system, trailing only Symbian.
Despite facing criticism from developers concerned that
, the OS is moving into other categories, including
that fall somewhere between smartphones and mini laptops.
With Google reportedly sharing search-ad revenue with its Android carrier and handset partners, it is hardly surprising that its OS is establishing a foothold. Read on for more about five of the newest Android devices taking on Apple.
HTC EVO 4G
made its debut to the strains of Led Zeppelin last week, and it's one of the most viable challengers to the iPhone.
4G trailblazer Sprint
, the EVO 4G comes with Android 2.1, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. With a large 4.3-inch high-definition screen, an 8-megapixel camera and a camcorder that is said to equal HD devices, Sprint is plugging the phone as an alternative to traditional camcorders -- and even DVRs.
Speed will be the EVO 4G's biggest selling point, although it's no surprise that Sprint says the phone performs well on its 3G network.
The telco has not yet revealed a price tag for the EVO 4G, but Sprint promises that it will be aggressively priced when it hits the market this summer.
Samsung Galaxy S
Another phone running Android 2.1,
Samsung's Galaxy S
also made its debut in Sin City. Like the EVO 4G, the Galaxy S comes with a large 4-inch high-definition screen, underlining the current obsession with crisper, sharper smartphone images.
With a 1-Ghz processor, the phone is ideal for viewing photos and videos, as well as e-books, says
. The Galaxy S is less than a half-inch thick and is aimed at both consumers and business users. Samsung has yet to release pricing or availability for the new phone.
Motorola describes the i1 as the world's first push-to-talk Android smartphone. Push-to-talk, similar to a walkie-talkie service, is aimed at enterprise users, although Motorola is also hyping the i1 as a traditional smartphone.
The phone comes with a 3.1 inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera, but has been built to military specifications for withstanding rain, dust, and shock.
AT&T announced last week that it will soon sell
smartphone, the Aero.
Precise details on the 3G device are not yet available. A note on the AT&T Web site trumpets the Aero as "the lightest Android smartphone." With a 3.5-inch display, the Aero also contains a 5-megapixel camera. It is the second
Touted in the blogosphere as the lightest Android phone yet, the Kyocera Zio M6000 weighs in at just 3.7 ounces, compared to the 6-ounce HTC EVO 4G and the 4.6-ounce Motorola i1.
Available in the second quarter, the Zio M6000 marks Kyocera's return to the smartphone space. Better known for printers and fax machines, Kyocera is pushing the new phone as a way to extend Android to a new base of customers. Low-cost specialist
has already announced plans to
sometime in the summer or fall timeframe.
-- Written by James Rogers in New York
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