Google and Huawei have announced an Android smartphone that runs the Android 2.2 mobile OS. Huawei says the IDEOS phone is the first mass-market handset to be offered with the Android 2.2 OS preinstalled.

The Huawei IDEOS will carry a SIM-free price tag of between US$100 and $200 depending on where it’s bought. Huawei is currently in active negotiations with a number of carriers keen to offer the Google-branded device. The phone is set for “commercial launch” in mid-October in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The Huawei IDEOS Android smartphone offers 3G HSDPA connectivity as well as 80.11n Wi-Fi. This, explained Nicola Philbin, Huawei’s director for terminals, UK and Ireland, offers web connection speeds up to six times faster than standard Wi-Fi. The phone also supports 3G tethering, allowing it to act as modem for a laptop to connect to the web where a Wi-Fi or Ethernet broadband connection is not available.

The Huawei IDEOS smartphone sports a 2.8in QVGA capacitative touchscreen, has a 3.2Mp camera, Bluetooth A2DP and 512MB of internal memory. Running a Qualcomm 528MHz processor, the IDEOS handset has its own media player and accepts microSD cards up to 32GB.

The Huawei IDEOS was co-developed by Google and the Chinese hardware manufacturer and is effectively a successor device to the high-end Nexus One smartphone that Google co-developed with HTC. While the Google Nexus One showcased the Android 2.1 clair version of the mobile operating system and was pitched against the likes of the Apple iPhone, the IDEOS is a mass market handset thats natural rivals are the HTC Desire and Legend.

Preinstalled applications include Google Talk, Google Maps and the Android Market app download service. Since the Huawei IDEOS is equipped with the newest version of the Android OS, it will support the ability to run applications stored on a microSD card, deftly getting around the limitations of the handset’s 512MB internal memory.

The HTC Desire handset was the first device on which the Android 2.2 Froyo upgrade was offered, having originally been sold as a 2.1 clair smartphone. HTC and its partners have come under fire for the tricksy upgrade path for the HTC Desire, caused in part by the Vodafone 360 and Samsung TouchWiz user interfaces overlaid on the standard Android interface.

The IDEOS handset will be available in blue, black, purple or yellow versions. The front of the smartphone is black, though largely dominated by its bright, responsive capacitive touchscreen, while the rear has a colourful backplate and is branded ‘with Google’. It is named the IDEOS because of its industrial design, evolutionary status and its innovative operating system. These elements, Huawei believe, fit neatly with its company philisophy of a “simple device; smarter world”.