Optus hints at Android-based tablets

The telco has appeared to lag behind Telstra with Android launches in Australia

Dell's Android-based Streak tablet

Dell's Android-based Streak tablet

Optus hinted today that it may launch tablets in the Australian market based on Google Android, as the popularity of the mobile operating system continues to take the SingTel subsidiary by storm.

The telco has appeared to lag behind Telstra with Android launches in Australia — the big T quickly stole much of the Android limelight with its HTC Desire launch in April. But Optus has followed the launch up with a plethora of Android handsets from other manufacturers, and its consumer managing director Michael Smith was upbeat about the Google platform, speaking at Optus’ regular financial results briefing session today.

“In fact, we are in a situation now where the devices we are offering in our retail outlets — we are offering more Android-capable devices than there are almost any others,” Smith told journalists. “And that platform seems to be gaining a quite solid traction in the marketplace.”

“We’ve also had a number of discussions with Google about how that manifest itself moving forward with new generations of the Android platform.”

Smith said Optus was examining how Android would be deployed on the upcoming “pad or tablet-style devices”, which the telco was aware were rapidly coming to market.

The executive said Optus had seen good take-up of Apple’s iPad tablet since it launched earlier this year. “The device itself remains in short supply even through those channels and we talk about the possibility of going forward with the iPad,” he said.

The iPhone 4 launch was even better.

“I think we had a good first couple of days with the iPhone in the market but we certainly had a few more people lining up around our shops then we had in any of the first two years,” Smith said.

Dell is known to be shopping its Streak tablet around with Australian telcos, but as yet no mobile carrier has decided to stock the device — although it is currently available through online retailers. And a number of other manufacturers — such as HP and ASUS — are known to be developing tablet devices running Android.

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Jenna Pitcher

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