The New York Times is reporting that T-Mobile is planning to release a home phone and a tablet PC powered by the Android operating system. The home phone should be available by early next year, while the tablet PC will come later. The phone is said to have a docking station and will come with another device that will synchronize data while recharging the phone’s battery. Peter Dobrow, a T-Mobile spokesman, wouldn’t discuss any specific future devices but did confirm that T-Mobile has plans for several devices based around the Android platform.
The Android operating system is open source, though Google still maintains some control over Android. So far, we’ve only seen one Android phone launch in the U.S., though many Android devices have been promised for this year and future years. For example, last week Samsung promised to ship a number of Android-based handsets this year. T-Mobile and Sprint are likely to offer some of these promised handsets in the U.S. Industry analysts expect Motorola to launch its Android phone by October. Of course, HTC is said to have additional Android handsets in the works as well.
Even though Android is most widely known as a mobile phone operating system today, the vision for the platform is to cover a wide range of mobile devices including computers. The rumored devices from T-Mobile illustrate how the company may be planning to use the Android platform for much more than simply phones. The rumored tablet-size phone device, for example, is said to resemble a small laptop without a keyboard. It has a seven-inch touchscreen and could handle basic computing jobs such as checking weather reports or managing data across devices in the home.
T-Mobile hopes to link phones, photo frames, digital cameras, security systems, webcams, and TVs through its software and networking services. The carrier isn’t alone. Verizon Wireless’ new Hub phone and AT&T’s HomeManager service offer similar products that merge information delivery with phone calls on a computer-like device.