Google has released a statement that contradicts a Wall Street Journal report that its Android open-source mobile operating system was facing delays that would push prevent hardware and cellular carrier partners from releasing handsets until the fourth quarter of the year at the earliest. According to a spokesperson:
“We are on schedule and we’re very excited to see the momentum continuing to build behind the Android platform among carriers, manufacturers, developers and consumers.”
Google also indicated that the release of the first handsets was still on track for the second half of the year.
As I see it, Google’s statement does not really refute the article by The Wall Street Journal. Even if Android is really still on schedule, device manufacturers and mobile carriers will still need time before they release their handsets to add their own customizations. The fewer modifications required, the better the chance that a carrier or manufacturer will be able to release handsets in 2008. For example, an unlocked device with minimal customization could every well still be released in 2008. On the other hand, if Google’s development schedule is slipping, those same partners will face tighter schedules and the increasing likelihood that they will not release handsets until 2009.