HTC is normally a very loyal Microsoft partner. But the firm has said it will focus heavily on handsets for Google's mobile platform, Android.

The Google-lead Open Handset Alliance, announced yesterday, has attracted the likes of Motorola, HTC, Intel and Samsung. Of these, HTC is likely to have the first handsets ready on the market.

Forbes reports that HTC is developing a handset dubbed 'Dream', which is said to be one of a few prototypes that Google used to demonstrate the Open Handset Alliance software to potential members.

The HTC Dream device reportedly measures around 3 x 5 inches, features a touchscreen, a full swivel out keyboard and an automatic swivel screen (from portrait to landscape mode) similar to the Apple iPhone. Website Unwired View reckons the Dream handset is actually HTC's rumoured Omni handset.

Time-sensitive touch controls

The software is reported to have 'time-sensitive' touch controls that expand your area of control the longer you touch on a particular area. Icons for often-used applications such as email, text documents and YouTube, are located across the top of the screen.

"We've been working on [Open Handset Alliance] designs for almost two years," HTC's CEO Peter Chou told Forbes. "This is the best one we've seen."

HTC's support of Android might look like a setback for Microsoft, as HTC is the market leader for mobile phones running Windows Mobile. HTC spokespeople were quick to say the firm would continue to develop Windows Mobile handsets alongside new Android-powered devices.

The first Android handsets are expected to be available in mid-2008.