The Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android platform for mobile devices is getting oiled up, polished, and ready to go. The first Android handset has a name, a manufacturer, and a few feature details.
Taiwanese handset maker HTC has long been rumored to have an Android phone in the works. It's looking fairly certain that the gadget will go by the moniker "HTC Dream" and include both a full QWERTY keyboard and a nice, big touchscreen. Expect a full complement of bleeding-edge features like GPS geo-location, sleek design, and music/movie playback, as the device becomes a showcase piece for Google's new technology initiative.
Korean electronics giant Samsung is also said to be putting its back into Android development these days, so perhaps the Dream won't be all that lonely. The Open Handset Alliance, which launched Android as "the first open, complete, and free platform created specifically for mobile devices," also includes handset makers Motorola (NYSE: MOT ) and LG Electronics. Software expertise comes from Google, speech recognition expert Nuance Communications (Nasdaq: NUAN ) , and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) , among others. Can you envision a Skype-capable, voice-controlled cell phone with top-notch Web browsing features? Tasty!
That's what Google is hoping consumers and network providers will think, too. The success of the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone has shown that there's definitely a market for user-friendly handsets that don't come from Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) . If Android gains traction, it'll certainly be a boon to Google and the handset makers, but an even greater boost for smaller contributors like Nuance or GPS specialist SiRF Technology (Nasdaq: SIRF ) . As an investor, this small fry could be the droids you're looking for.