Sony Ericsson, which has a major research and development center in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, just could be one of the players in the Google phone market.

So says VentureBeat.

“We’ve heard that Sony Ericsson will not solely tie its Xperia phones to Windows Mobile and is considering “other options” (read: Android),” the Silicon Valley-based news service says.

Google’s so-called “Android” phones are set to debut next week.

“LG, Samsung, Motorola — and Sony Ericsson — to have Android phones,” VentureBeat reported Wednesday.

“Or so a Forbes interview with Open Handset Alliance member PacketVideo’s Joel Espelien suggests,” VentureBeat added, citing a Forbes report.

“Sony Ericsson has not yet signed on to the OHA, the consortium of mobile industry companies that Google has built around Android. It is one of the largest handset manufacturers in the world, so the addition could help Android reach more users.”