South Korea’s third-biggest mobile service operator, LG Telecom, may offer Google’s Android platform on their 3G phones, LG’s chief executive said on Thursday. “We are using an open platform for our 3G service,” CEO Jung Il-jae told reporters.
The South Korean handset maker said in February it would start selling a model running on Google’s Android mobile phone operating system in late 2008 or early 2009. Samsung Electronics also hopes to have a Google phone in early 2009.
LG Telecom is also South Korea’s third-largest mobile carrier by revenue and recently launched EVDO Rev. A service. CDMA-based LG, which has 18 percent of South Korea’s 44 million mobile subscribers, has lagged behind bigger rivals SK Telecom and Korea Telecom Freetel in providing 3G services.
AT&T, the largest U.S. mobile provider, said on Wednesday it was interested in selling phones based on Android. But AT&T Mobility Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega stopped short, however, of announcing plans to use Android on its network, reports the Washington Post. The wireless boss also confirmed longstanding rumors that a second generation, HSDPA-supported iPhone would be arriving within months. But probably not running Android.
Last year, Verizon Wireless announced it will open its network to outside mobile handsets, devices, and applications by the end of 2008.
Android, being free, will certainly be popular with phone manufacturers and developers. It will turn a whole category of midrange phones into smartphones with a ton of easily-programmed Linux software available for them.
It will seriously threaten Microsoft’s move towards putting Windows Mobile on cheaper devices, and provide everyone other than Nokia a good platform from which to attack Nokia’s powerful lineup of Series 60 smart/feature phones. It will make a lot of phones into tiny PCs, running VOIP video calling, playing YouTube and downloading open-source applications.
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