It is expected that more Android phones will be available to consumers by the end of this year. Google, internet search giant and maker of the Android OS, announced Wednesday their plan to make at least 18 new versions of the popular web enabled mobile phone available to the general public before the end of 2009. Seen as a fierce competitor to Apple’s iPhone, the Android operating system for mobile phones surprised many when it was first released in late 2007. Partnering with T-Mobile, Google and its Android team worked hard to bring their brand to market with the first Android phone, the G1. Since then, it has been hampered by issues with rights for user applications or apps. Google worked to get their Apps store up and running and now featured a few thousand applications.

This new offering from the Android team is likely to bring a wider variety of availability for the phone and its applications. Currently, there are two versions of commercially available phones using the Android Operating system: the G1 from T-Mobile in the United States and HTC’s “Magic” phone in most of Europe. In Wednesday’s announcement to the press, Andy Rubin, Senior Director of Mobile Platforms for Google, said he hopes for “over 20” phones able to use the Android mobile Operating System, but 18 was his conservative estimate by the end of this year. The opening of Android on more phone may be a plus or minus while Google competes with Apple, Microsoft mobile OS, Research in Motion (Blackberry), and Palm to win the hearts, and hands, of consumers looking to use there phone for so much more than making calls.