Is AT&T preparing a Google Android offensive?

The wireless carrier is now on track to spread some Google love to its customers

AT&T has been keeping quiet on its plans to adopt the Google Android platform so far. But with rumors that Verizon might steal its iPhone exclusivity and several high-end handset manufacturers already set to deliver Android phones, the wireless carrier is now on track to spread some Google love to its customers.

AT&T Wireless is reportedly gearing up for the launch of the HTC Lancaster in August, the carrier's first Google Android device. Sporting a sliding full QWERTY keyboard, the HTC Lancaster will also feature a custom (AT&T branded) user interface, with August 3 as the expected launch date.

The HTC Lancaster (which probably won't be the final name of the device) looks a lot like other devices from the Taiwanese manufacturer. Lancaster resembles the HTC Magic when closed, and brings back memories of the T-Mobile G1 when the keyboard is slid out.

HTC Lancaster's specifications are good, but not groundbreaking: a 3-megapixel camera (fixed-focus), AGPS, and a 2.8-inch QVGA (240X320 pixel) touchscreen display). The storage capacity is not yet available, but a safe assumption would be that it would come with 512MB (RAM 288MB), which could be expanded via microSD memory cards.

Other specs include Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, a 1,350mAh battery, EDGE and 850 / 1900MHz HSPA, a weight of 110 grams and sized at 109 x 54 x17.1 mm. HTC Lancaster is expected to be available exclusively on AT&T for 6 months after the initial launch of the device.

As for the custom user interface on Android mentioned above, this is something we've been hearing about quite a bit lately. Just as manufacturers have been playing in the past years with Windows Mobile interfaces (like TouchFlo) word has been spreading that carriers will now attempt to modify Android to suit their needs as well.

In order, AT&T's HTC Lancaster could come with a more stylish "skin" and some "unique social messaging user interface."

Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielionescu

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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