Google Android, the search engine company’s open-source operating system, will appear on smartphones launched in Canada starting June 2009.
The smartphones, HTC Dream and HTC Magic, are being released in that country by Rogers Wireless, one of Canada’s largest carriers. The HTC Magic features a touch-screen, while the HTC Dream interface can be navigated via both touch-screen and QWERTY keyboard.
Android, which originally made its debut in August 2008, is predicted to be running on around 12 percent of global smartphone shipments by 2012.
On April 27, Google launched the Google Android 1.5 SDK, based on the “Cupcake” branch of the Android Open Source project. The Android 1.5 SDK included APIs for new and improved features such as home screen widgets, home screen framework and speech recognition framework-all of which could potentially come in handy as the operating system’s relationship with smartphones continues to evolve.
Android also seems on the verge of becoming a regularly used operating system in mininotebooks, aka netbooks.
“On the netbook side, there are a number of people who have actually taken Android and ported it over to netbook or netbook-similar devices,” Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said during an April 16 earnings call. “We’re excited that that investment is occurring.”
Companies from T-Mobile to Acer and Dell are planning laptop-focused applications for the Android OS, although Google faces not-insubstantial competition from Microsoft, which is reportedly designing a version of Windows 7 for netbooks.
The upcoming rollout of Android on smartphones isn’t the only exciting IT news to come out of Canada this week. On May 6, Palm announced that its much-anticipated Palm Pre smartphone will be available in Canada on the Bell Mobility network in the second half of 2009.
In the U.S., an update to Android 1.5 software will be pushed wirelessly to T-Mobile USA G1 smartphones on an as-yet-unspecified day the week of May 11. According to reports, this update will feature an onscreen QWERTY keyboard and easier uploading of photos and video.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information about an upcoming Android 1.5 update.