The race is on to be the first handset vendor to offer a phone based on Google's Android software. The winner may be High Tech Computer (HTC), which has been developing a phone with a large touchscreen and full QWERTY keypad. Or it could be Samsung, which has recently stepped up its efforts to put out the first Android phone.

HTC's Google handset is just over 5-inches long and 3-inches wide, with a keypad underneath the screen that either slides out or swivels out, according to a source close to the development. The aim of the keypad is for easy e-mail, note-taking and writing web addresses.

Internet navigational controls are situated below the screen on the handset.

The handset will likely hit the market near the end of this year, the person said.

The company officially remained schtum on the handset.

"We cannot comment on this product," said Maggie Cheng, an HTC representative.

Last November, HTC became the first company to admit to developing a mobile phone based on Android, although Samsung, Motorola and other handset developers are part of the group dedicated to furthering the software, the Open Handset Alliance.

Android, an open source software platform that includes an OS, is designed to take advantage of Internet services for mobility. The software could become a potent new rival to Windows Mobile and other handset operating systems. At the launch ceremony, Google announced that over 30 companies had joined the Open Handset Alliance.