AT&T launches 12 new Google smartphones

GOOGLE won a major vote of confidence in its mobile phone platform Android yesterday, after America’s second largest network said it would launch 12 new handsets which run the software.

AT&T announced four times as many smartphones as it did this time a year ago, backed heavily by Google software, highlighting the urgency of its quest to lessen its dependence on Apple’s iPhone.

The mobile operator, which has been the exclusive US provider for the iPhone since 2007, is expected to face tough competition early this year when bigger rival Verizon Wireless starts selling the smash-hit Apple handset.

AT&T executives said yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show that it would introduce 20 high-speed smartphone models in 2011, including a dozen Google Android devices.

The first of these phones will come from from Motorola, HTC and Samsung Electronics.

The Number Two US mobile provider also said it would sell a tablet computer from Motorola, but declined to give further details.