Apple as AT&T’s darling may be coming to an end, though its dominance is going to be hard to break. AT&T announced that it will be launching five Android-based handsets in the first half of 2010, competing directly with the network’s own iPhone pride and joy.
This means Google’s Android OS is going to be out there and available on every major carrier — ahead of the iPhone. That gives developers a bigger push in creating apps for the Android app store, and users more reason to purchase the phone. All-in-all, this has to scare Apple a bit, as they’re still contracted as an AT&T-only phone for a bit longer, giving Google a fairly big multi-carrier head start.
The actual phone details aren’t available yet, but AT&T revealed it will carry a device from Motorola with the MotoBlur interface, a device from HTC, and the first Android-based Dell smartphone.
AT&T’s biggest problem right now is not its phone selection though – it’s the carrier’s network that keeps dropping calls in congested areas like San Francisco and New York. Apple, on the other hand, needs to leap out of its indentured servitude once its AT&T-only contract ends and fight Google fist-for-a-fist. Google’s phones, like the highly-anticipated T-Mobile / Google Nexus One, have yet to entirely live up to their hype, but Google is getting close. And with multiple hardware manufacturers building Android devices, options for Android phones will always be broader than the “choose your hard-drive size” iPhone.