Google's Android mobile platform has been slated for a "second half of 2008" release since it was first announced. But in a conference call on Monday, one company representative indicated that phones running the software could be hitting store shelves sooner than first thought.

Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media counsel, said on Monday that Android phones could be out as soon as "summer or fall of this year". The release may coincide with the "back-to-school and holiday shopping bonanzas" that send some people into a spending frenzy, he added.

Damage control to the rescue

However, Google representatives moved quickly to douse the flames after the call. The company reportedly reiterated its claim that Android phones would be released in the "second half of 2008" and gave no indication that devices should be expected in the summer or autumn of this year.

To further throw the blood-thirsty journalists off the scent, Google told those listening in that the release date of Android-based phones would be decided by the manufacturers, not Google. 

Of course, to believe that is to believe there won't be any Android phones this summer. Look for more on this as we get closer to June.