The complete guide to Android phones

With the first non-HTC Google Android phone inches away from our grasp, it seemed time to take a look at how far and wide the open source OS has spread and where it's heading in the near future. There's been a lot of talk over which company is going to bring one out and more rumours and photos splashed over the internet than most people can remember. So take some time to refresh your mind and see which are those that tickle your fancy.

G1
AKA: T-Mobile G1, HTC Dream, Era G1
Screen: 3.2" capacitive touchscreen
QWERTY: Yes
Camera 3.2-megapixel with autofocus
Weight: 158g
Status: Available from T-Mobile from £30/month

The original Android phone and still very highly rated, the G1 may take a fair amount of stick for its "chin" and clunky looks but it's a solid mobile phone that's still a pleasure to use. The battery's a little light and needs looking after if you want it to last you till the end of the day but few owners of these handsets seems to regret their purchase. Good trackball and buttons and as many connectivity and storage opportunities as you need. Sadly, there'll be no more Android updates for the G1 beyond Cupcake (Android 1.5). Worth bearing in mind.

HTC Magic
AKA: T-Mobile myTouch 3G, Rogers HTC Magic
Screen: 3.2" capacitive touchscreen
QWERTY: No
Camera 3.2-megapixel with autofocus
Weight: 116g
Status: Available from Vodafone from £25/month
Lighter, prettier and slimmer than G1, HTC nicely addressed the aesthetics issues they had the last time around. Some argue that the loss of the QWERTY makes it less pleasurable to use but improvements to the battery do mean you get more usage out if it per day. It still has the accelerometer and digital compass, like the G1, and would be the top Android handset out there if it weren't for the recently announced Hero.

HTC Hero
AKA: T-Mobile G2 Touch
Screen: 3.2" capacitive touchscreen
QWERTY: No
Camera 5-megapixel with autofocus
Weight: 135g
Status: Available on T-Mobile and Orange from £36.50/month
Largely the same proposition under the hood as the Magic but, again, a few interesting fixes and tweaks. The biggest difference is the HTC Sense operating system that sits on top of Android 1.5. It's designed to offer a more natural, integrated approach to your experience by weaving your apps in more closely with your contacts. The 5-megapixel camera also helps set it out from the others too. The Hero is the one music fans have been holding out for. It's the first of the three to come with a 3.5mm jack. Should be handy now that there's a Spotify app available.

Samsung Galaxy
AKA: Samsung i7500
Screen: 3.2" AMOLED touchscreen
QWERTY: No
Camera 5-megapixel with flash
Weight 114g
Status: Official and rumoured to be out on 02 within days
Samsung's first Android handset could well have hit the shops by the time you're reading this and it certainly offers something different to what HTC has come up with so far. A d-pad replaces the trackball, the camera has actually got a flash now, it's light and there's some on-board storage to speak of rather then just relying on microSD cards. Once expanded you can fit up to 40GB on it, and all your pictures and vids will look pretty special on the AMOLED screen. Sadly, though it doesn't appear to be a capacitive touchscreen, so you're never going to appreciate multi-touch even if Android ever does unlock that functionality. It comes with a USB port, 3.5mm jack and battery that should last you well. More when it's out.

Huawei U8230
Screen: 3.5" touchscreen
QWERTY: No
Camera 3.2-megapixel
Weight: Unknown
Status: Available from T-Mobile in Q3
From here on in, it gets a little sketchy with most of the handsets anticipated but not yet detailed. Huawei will most likely sell this phone to be rebadged and passed on as a low cost Android option, and T-Mobile is set to be the first to stock it - probably as the company's home brand. No word on the nature of the screen itself or the dimensions of the phone but it will come with a 3.5mm jack and straps a 1500 mAH battery - as big as any on an Android phone so far. It's probably not one for the connoisseur but could be the kind of device to help bring Google's mobile OS to the mass public.

Motorola Morrison
Screen: Unknown
Camera: 5-megapixels
QWERTY: Yes
Status: Rumoured and snapped
Motorola had to be in the picture somewhere, else they might as well have curled up and admitted defeat. There's nothing official of the Morrision so far but there's plenty of pictures and rumoured info out on the streets saying that it's a fairly similar proposition to the HTC Sense with almost identical internal spec. Like the Sense, it also has a 3.5mm jack, its own customisable UI called Blur and, this time, there's even a QWERTY to play with. Should be out in the US in October.

Samsung InstinctQ
QWERTY: Yes
Status: Rumoured and snapped
A few pictures have surfaces of the Samsung InstinctQ today, which appears to be the Android phone previously spotted when it got Wi-Fi certification earlier in the year. Unfortunately we don't have any specs much beyond the OS and the fact that it's got Wi-Fi, but we can probably assume a touchscreen of some sort, and there's a slide-out QWERTY in the pics - making this the first Android handset since the original G1 to carry one of those. The US is rumoured to be getting the InstinctQ on October 11 or "early November" on Sprint. We don't know yet whether it'll be making it over to the UK.

Sony Ericsson Rachael
QWERTY: Unknown
Status: Rumoured and snapped
A Danish website, Mobil, uncovered some details about an Xperia-based Sony Ericsson handset codenamed "Rachael" last month. Specs aren't extensively detailed, but the site claims that it's got an 8-megapixel camera and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor - making it the fastest and best camered Android phone to date. The pics also show a 3.5mm headphone jack. No firm release date on this one and no guarantee that it's for real.

LG KS360 Android variant
QWERTY: Yes
Status: Announced
Back in February, LG announced that the company would release several Android phones, one of which would be an Android variant of the slideout QWERTY KS630 with social networking at its heart. The phones were slated for the summer. It's the penultimate week of August. Still waiting.

Acer Android
QWERTY: Unknown
Status: Announced
Acer has been playing a similar game since they launched a slewette of Windows Mobile-based handsets earlier in the year. We're told that the company's first Android phone will come in Q4 and, with their initial concern of the platform being that they had no laptops to support it, does this mean we'll see Android PCs at the same time?

BenQ Android
QWERTY: Unknown
Status: Announced
No need to guess with BenQ. They will be launching Android laptops at the same time as an Android mobile. Only trouble is that that won't be until next year.

Dell Android
QWERTY: Unknown
Status: Rumour and one out of focus shot from China
If it weren't for the fact that Dell would be crazy if they weren't developing a phone of come sort, we wouldn't have included them in the list. In true Dell style, it's a rumour that's been bouncing around the intertubes for long time now. Word has it that the company has rejected most of the designs so far, but this Pre-looking device snapped in the East could mean that Michael and his men might finally have settled on something they can live with.