Android-powered phone

The release said Intrinsyc will be the systems integrator on the project. There was no target deadline for when the device will be on the market.

Intrinsyc has some 200 staffers in Vancouver, Bejing, Taiwan and Israel. Half of them are in the Vancouver office, Rosenbaum said, with the chief scientists in Israel.

Since Google announced it was getting into the mobile operating system business, Android has been one of the hottest technologies in the mobile industry. At last month’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, several chipmakers quietly showed prototypes of phones expected to be in the market by the end of the year.

Vancouver’s Intrinsyc Software Int’l., which builds software solutions for portable devices, said Monday it has an agreement with an unnamed company to develop a “mobile consumer electronics device” running Google’s Android open source operating system.

Until now Intrinsyc’s experience has been with Linux, the Symbian OS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Embedded CE operating systems. Elizabeth Rosenbaum, the company’s vice-president of corporate marketing, said the deal with a manufacturer that could only be described as a Fortune 500 company would be Intrinsyc’s first with Android. Other than that, she couldn’t say more.

The first Android-powered phone, HTC’s G1, built for carrier T-Mobile, was revealed last fall. Huawei said it will have one out in the third quarter, but has given no detail about its size or capabilities. Motorola and LG Electronics are also working on Android-powered phones.

Some handset makers – such as Waterloo’s Research in Motion – have handsets built around proprietary operating systems that would be difficult to abandon. However, others looking for any way to cut costs in the ruthlessly competitive handset business, would welcome the opportunity to save money by not having to pay for an operating system.

Motorola, for example, announced last fall it is abandoning the Symbian OS in favour of phones that run Android and Windows Mobile. It hopes to have an Android-based phone in stores by the December holiday period.

“Unfortunately,” she explaind, “because of the agreement, we’re not able to disclose more than what’s in the press release. We’re not allowed to say who the [contracting] company is or what we’ll be doing.”

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