The Open Handset Alliance has announced that it has released the latest beta version of the Google-backed Android mobile phone operating system today.

The new Android 0.9 SDK beta brings the OS one step closer to a final 1.0 release on the same day that the first Android based handset, the HTC Dream, hit the FCC in the US.

"Since those devices are shipping in the fourth quarter, the platform is now converging on a final Android 1.0 version", said Dan Morrill, Developer Advocate on the official Android blog.

The good news is, is that while the new operating system is still in beta and therefore subject to being a bit shaky, Morrill says the "APIs are now pretty stable and we don't expect any major changes. If you're one of the many developers who were waiting for something a bit more mature, this might be a good time to take another look".

Working to a roadmap that includes "Q4 2008 - Android 1.0 devices available at retail", the new to the SDK features a new Home screen and "a ton of UI changes" according to the post.

Additionally new applications, which you would expect to see on any modern day mobile phone have now been added including an alarm clock, calculator, camera, music player, picture viewer, and messaging for SMS/MMS conversations.

No final date has yet been given as to when in Q4 we are likely to see the project hit that 1.0 release.

We will keep you posted.