Google says 2009 will be strong year for Android

Web giant Google has promised that 2009 is going to be the year Android comes into its own, which may cheer up industry watchers disappointed by a weak showing from the platform so far.

Speaking as the company announced its financial results on Friday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, said Android, which is backed by Google and developed by the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) is “going to have a very strong year” this year.

“There are announcements happening between now and the end of the year which will be quite significant from operators and hardware partners in the Android space,” said Schmidt, “and which will really fulfil much of the vision we laid out more than a year ago.”

Despite the fact that only one device – HTC’s G1, available on T-Mobile – has made it to market so far, Google claims that the platform’s open source strategy is working and the company is aware of many device vendors which are using the operating system.

HTC was the only company to come out with a solid addition to the Android portfolio in Barcelona this year in the shape of the Magic handset.

But Schmidt also said that Android has already been ported over to netbooks and similar devices. “Another one of the great benefit of the open source model, and we’re excited that these investments are occurring largely outside of Google,” he said.

And last week, Google also gave developers a sneak preview of the next generation of the Android platform, based on the much hyped ‘cupcake’ branch of the operating system.

Although the company is not recession proof, Google still turned in encouraging figures during the first quarter of 2009, with net income rising to $1.4bn during the first quarter, from $1.3bn a year ago. Revenues were also up to $5.5bn, from 5.1bn in the first quarter of 2008.

Non-cash impairment charges primarily related to investments in AOL and Clearwire hit $277m in the first quarter of 2009, compared to $286m in the fourth quarter of 2008. Also, in the fourth quarter of 2008, the company recognised $1.09bn in asset impairment charges related primarily to investments in AOL and Clearwire.

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