Google Phone – The Reality

Finally, We have word from Google that the much awaited “Google” phone is currently used by internal developers at Google’s Office in Mountain View, California. Contradicting the rumors that flew back and forth on the Internet, Google confirmed that the much awaited “Google” phone was indeed an Android based phone.

On an official Google blog, vice president of product management Mario Queroz said that Google employees are using “a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android,” but that this phone is “exclusively for Google employees,” not for consumers.

Several blogs have pegged the phone as the “HTC Passion,” a slab-style device very similar to the HTC HD2 that some bloggers have said will be coming to T-Mobile USA.

That doesn’t make the Passion any more a “Google phone” than other “With Google” or “Google Experience” Android phones, such as the Motorola Droid or T-Mobile G1.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that an upcoming Android phone from HTC will be called “Nexus One” and that “Google designed virtually the entire software experience behind the phone.”

But that’s also true of the unlocked version of the T-Mobile G1, released last year as the Android Dev Phone 1. This May, our own Mark Hachman (as well as many Android developers) was given a version of the HTC Magic phone that was called the “Google Ion” at the time – also unlocked, also direct from Google. More intriguingly, the Journal says that Google intends to sell the phone en masse to consumers unlocked, not through a wireless carrier.

While that’s a common business model in most of the world, and the Dev Phone 1 is available unlocked, typically unlocked phones haven’t sold many units here in the US.

TechCrunch says that a new phone “will be called the Google Phone” and will be sold directly by Google, independently of any wireless carrier.

Engadget claims it will run on AT&T, while blogger John Gruber says its 3G radio will only work with T-Mobile, and AT&T customers would be stuck in 2G mode.

I don’t have any exclusive information about new devices. But I’d bet that this phone is just T-Mobile’s new flagship Android phone, the way the Droid was for Verizon. Remember, Google works with preferred hardware partners to showcase new versions of Android. Google was intensely involved in the design of the original G1. Motorola and Verizon got the first shot at Android 2.0; perhaps now it’s time for Google to show love to HTC and T-Mobile again.

As for it being sold unlocked, remember that T-Mobile has their new Even More Plus plans which are designed to be used with unsubsidized, unlocked phones.


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