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Motorola, Others Ramp Up Android Interest

Right now for Web developers, there's only one game in town, but Apple's iPhone App Store will soon receive serious competition from Google's Android Market, especially as handset makers ramp up their software development teams, writes TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld. The most significant new announcement comes from Motorola, one of the original partners in the Open Handset Alliance. The handset maker, which already has 50 people on its Android team, is growing that number to 350, according to a source. "That is a huge commitment that shows how big a bet Motorola is making on Android," Schonfeld says.

But the source wasn't done there. He noted that workers from competitor Nokia and cellular giant Verizon were spotted at a recent Android developer conference, where you had to have an Android app in order to attend. Of course, neither Nokia nor Verizon are official members of Google's Open Handset Alliance, but Schonfeld suggests that both might be interested in developing for Android, if for nothing else than competitive purposes.

Android may not be perfect, but it's still "the most capable mobile Web computer" outside of the iPhone, Schonfeld says. It also fosters a very appealing development environment, and, as an open-source operating system, doesn't charge manufacturers a licensing fee, which is particularly attractive to the likes of struggling Motorola.

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