Android phone near from Google partner

NTT DoCoMo and Google working towards first Android handset

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It wasn't a surprise that Google and NTT DoCoMo used a joint press conference in Tokyo today to announce they would be working closely together on mobile internet services. But admitting a Google phone was in the works was unusually open for the Japanese giant.

Against a background of declining revenues for carriers in Japan, the two firms are set to team up on several fronts to make DoCoMo phones more appealing to customers and to drive more traffic to Google.

Gmail et al too

Although the deployment of Android is listed as merely "possible" it's a safe bet that we'll see some hardware running the Open Handset Alliance operating system before long. DoCoMo phones already run a wide variety of OS software, making it clear that the company isn't wed to just one.

The other initiatives are slightly less cutting-edge but are still new for DoCoMo. They include installing Google Maps on new phones, easier access to Google searches, context-based advertising on mobile websites and the usual slew of Google services like Gmail, Picasa and YouTube.