Arrogance isn’t a word you would use to describe Andy Rubin and his team of engineers who build Google’s Android software for mobile phones. Rubin, who developed handheld gadgets for Apple and Danger before Google beamed him aboard, isn’t one to call his own work revolutionary.
Until now. Four years after the Android project began in Mountain View, insiders are telling VentureBeat that we can’t miss this week’s Google I/O developer conference, which runs Wednesday through Thursday at San Francisco’s Moscone West venue. Rubin, touting Android’s ability to run the same software applications on many different phones, told CNET, “I’m actually thinking this could be a revolution.”
Don’t confuse the buzz around Google with AT&T’s rumored entry into the Android market. According to a PowerPoint slide leaked to Engadget, a phone called Lancaster is being readied for AT&T by HTC, maker of T-Mobile’s hot G1 Android phone.
It’s no surprise that AT&T has an Android project. They’d be crazy not to. One tipster alerted us to an XML file on a Taiwanese server that includes “ATT” and “Android” in its URL. (For the technically-minded: This file is a User Agent Profile. A browser sends it to a Web server so that the server can understand the device’s capabilities and limits. The specs in the file align closely with those on Engadget’s leaked slide. The browser version number, 0.6, suggests that AT&T was tinkering with Android months before T-Mobile began selling the G1.)
Is the Lancaster what has Googlers stoked for this week’s gathering? Almost certainly not. Engadget’s spy shot comes bundled with bad news in the accompanying text: AT&T insisted on replacing Google’s mobile services interface with the AT&T standard UI.
VentureBeat’s mobile reporters believe Google has something bigger on this week’s agenda. Something bigger than new Open Handset Alliance members, although we’ll bet on AT&T, Panasonic and China Unicom. Whatever it is, we’ll blog it live from Google I/O. You’ll know seconds after we do.
[Image from Engadget]
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