ARM to show off Android platform next week at trade show

Several demonstrations of the mobile platform will occur at the conference, says Google

ARM will demonstrate Google's Android on an early prototype device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, one of several demonstrations of the mobile platform that will occur at the conference, Google said on Thursday.

ARM spokesman Stuart Gill confirmed in an interview that ARM would be conducting the demonstration of the Android platform, but refused to elaborate.

"ARM will be demonstrating Android on an early prototype device to show how the platform works on their processor," Google spokesman Barry Schnitt said in an email. "There are a number of other companies that will be demonstrating Android on their hardware in various forms at Mobile World Congress." He would not name the others, however.

Schnitt added that Google was "very excited about the momentum building behind the platform as demonstrated by the number of companies that are supporting it with their technology."

Google also released a link to a video showing the early prototype device.

It is logical for ARM to be developing in the Android area, since it designs Linux-based CPUs for mobile phones, as well as CPUs based on other types of operating systems. ARM is the predominant CPU platform for mobile phones globally, said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates in Northboro, Mass.

Since ARM is already building with Linux, it would not be difficult for the company to put Android on top of the Linux in a phone, Gold said. He said ARM might be doing the Android development on behalf of another company, perhaps a device manufacturer.

ARM, however, is not listed as one of the founders of the Open Handset Alliance, which was led by Google and includes more than 30 companies.

Gold said he would expect several manufacturers to show prototypes of phones or handheld devices in Barcelona, either in private suites or on the show floor. Motorola, HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola and Samsung Electronics all make phones and are part of the OHA, he noted.

HTC and T-Mobile also are planning to offer phones based on open-source Android this year, the companies have said.

For Gold and others, the real question is not whether companies can show off products, but whether they will work. "Anybody can show a phone, but how rock solid will it be?" he asked. He expects demonstrations by half a dozen companies of Android devices before July, with phones shipping by year end.

A report that surfaced earlier this said Dell and Google would also show an Android phone in Barcelona next week. But that report was quickly refuted by bloggers and others.

One industry insider, who asked not to be identified, said it was unlikely Dell would produce an Android phone partly because it is not in the OHA. But neither is ARM and could be working from the Android developer's kit, or with another vendor, the analyst noted.

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