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T-Mobile Confirms Tablet PC Powered by Google Android

I wrote about the possible expansion of Android devices beyond smarphones just the other day. But now it looks like Android is definitely on the up-and-up: T-mobile has confirmed "several" different Android gizmos are on the way. And one may be a tablet PC.

The New York Times is the source of these gadget-blog-style bits of gossip, lending authority with the mention of leaked "confidential documents." According to the paper, T-mobile will be fielding a home phone (remember them?) sometime "early next year," and following it shortly after with a "tablet computer." While T-Mobile wouldn't comment on the specifics of this rumor, the company has confirmed that some new Android-powered devices are in the pipeline.

Of the two, the home phone seems a little bizarre to me, since that device is on the way to its doom as more and more of us rely solely on cellphones, and use VOIP systems like Skype when at home. And Grandma wouldn't be too attracted by the bells-and-whistles of a conventional phone running the complex Android OS, would she? Still, there's the possibility that such a device could function in the role as a home or kitchen media-manager, as the rumor also implies it'll "come with another device that handles data synchronization," and that would increase its utility for many users.

But the tablet computer makes perfect sense. Imagine it as a netbook without a keyboard, and then think of the pocket-friendly convenience that the reduced size of such a device would bring. It's reportedly due to get a seven-inch screen, which is the same size as the original Eee PC, and the assumption is that it would be given 3G mobile internet capability through its T-Mobile host. Such a device, carefully priced, would be perfectly poised to capitalize on the success of the iPhone which is essentially an ultra-compact mobile computer already—just with a much smaller screen.

When I mentioned the rise of Android on other devices before, I pointed to it signaling trouble for Microsoft. But if Apple really is working on a tablet computer, as so many persistent rumors suggest, then perhaps it had better get a move on.

[via Crunchgear, The New York Times]