Morrill confirmed that the first Android handset would hit the market before the end of 2008, but declined to say who would manufacture it or to name any manufacturers that had commited to make Android handsets. He said the first device would be "a fairly high end smartphone" in order to showcase as many features of Android as possible. "Right now we are working very closely with our alliance partner to get the first device on the market. And we want to set the bar really high and presents an excellent user experience."
He also declined to say if the Open Handset Alliance, formed in November 2007 to develop and promote Android, had expanded beyond the founding members, saying: "People assume [the Open Handset Alliance] is an industry consortium but the analogy I prefer to use is that it is more like an open source project. It is an alliance of companies that have come together to express support for an idea and to work together to build a product, in this case Android."
The alliance, Morrill said, was self-governing with each member - handset manufacturers, chipmakers carriers - contributing something. He added: "the lions' share of the engineers working on the core platform are Google employees, but the technical ownership will become more distributed when we release the source code which will be shortly after the first devices become available...After that we [Google] do not want to be on the critical path for the development of every Android device."
While there have been many comparisons, and much speculation on how Android will far against the iPhone, a closer competitor is the Linux-based LiMo handset platform, which has already been released. The head of the LiMo Foundation, Morgan Gillis, has suggested that, unlike LiMo, Android will never be truly open, thanks to Google's involvement. "Will it really be possible for a user to choose Yahoo! as the preferred search provider on an Android handset? I'm not sure." He is reported to have said.
Morrill refutes such suggestions saying: "Not only will that be allowed it is something we would like to see happen. We developed this platform to meet our own technical goals, but there are no licensing or technical restrictions in the platform that would prevent Yahoo! doing what you suggest."
He added that the timing of source code release was determined largely by logistics. "It is just about the mechanics setting up the infrastructure to host it."