Android is a new operating system for cell phones, designed by Google engineers. Unlike most existing cell phone operating systems, it'll be friendly to applications created by outside software developers.
In a PC World Interview with Google co-founder Rich Miner, Miner says:
When we looked at the other [mobile] Linux activities out there, oftentimes they're initiatives that are based on Linux but their resulting platforms aren't completely open. Or they're completely open and they're Linux, but they're missing most of the things that [Android has]. They probably don't have video codecs, Midi sequencer, speech recognition. So they're not a complete phone stack. The goal with Android was to build into it everything you needed to release a phone: an entire stack to build a competitive smartphone or high-end feature phone.
Although Android is to be released under the Apache License, the speech recognition component likely will *not* be, since Nuance is also an Open Handset Alliance partner. The Android™ SDK is set to be released on November 12, 2007.
I've found some more information online:
"Nuance joined the Open Handset Alliance with other industry leaders to grow
the entire mobile ecosystem. We're committed to apply our strength and
leadership in voice-based search and messaging to move the market forward.
By packaging and optimizing embedded speech technology components for
open-source distribution, we've given developers the opportunity to access
speech solutions through open APIs using the Android platform and to easily
upgrade to new, more advanced speech features as well. We believe deep
collaboration with members of the Alliance will grow our core mobile
business and fuel the proliferation of speech-enabled applications
"Nuance's contribution to Android, the open mobile platform announced today
by the Open Handset Alliance, helps developers begin to build mobile
applications with basic voice command functionality in US English. Beyond
the open source technology, to truly unlock the potential of the mobile Web
and take full advantage of the fundamental speech capabilities, Nuance will
offer a complete portfolio of language models, services, applications and
advanced technology programs, including: ..."