Taiwan-based Asustek, makers of the popular Asus Eee netbook, have revealed plans to release a smartphone running Google’s Android operating system in early 2009.
The device will initially be released in Taiwan, with Asustek aiming for an optimistic 20% share of the Taiwanese market by the end of 2009.
Asustek will use hardware from Qualcomm and Marvell to build the handset, phasing out its use of older Ericsson Mobile Platform (EMP) hardware.
The company has already released a number of smartphones, although they have yet to make a significant imprint on the smartphone market.
In the past, Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturers have opted to use Microsoft’s Windows Mobile as their software platform.
However, Asustek’s pioneering choice of the Android platform is being seen as a good move because Google’s operating system offers direct competition to the iPhone and Blackberry smartphones.
Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry range have seen their market share increasing in recent months, whilst the market share Windows Mobile based devices has been flatlining.
Opensource Android, released on a handset for the first time this month, is free for vendors to install on their handsets.
If Android proves popular with consumers, it is increasingly likely that vendors will opt for the software in a bid to cut costs and attract customers.