More Google Android phones on the way

It looks like 2009 will be a big year for Google’s fledgling Android mobile platform.

In mid December, 14 new members joined Google’s Open Handset Alliance, a group that will help develop the search giant’s open-source mobile operating system. The new members include Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator, as well as Garmin International, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba.

Technology news site Cnet recently reported that Sony Ericsson expects to release a new Android phone in the middle of the year, while Samsung and Garmin are also expected to launch their first Android phones in 2009.

Google is doing its bit to spread the Android message. According to reports, the search giant gave 85% of its staff (around 18,000 people according to reports) customised versions of the HTC Dream, the first commercial Android handset, as Christmas presents.

Google has also developed an updated version of Android, known as Cupcake. The new version includes fixes for bugs with email and new features such as speech recognition, virtual keyboards and video capture.

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