updated 12:45 am EDT, Sat October 31, 2009
Google insists Android 3rd-party only
Google tonight moved to quash rumors that it would make its own smartphone. The company's Android project president, Andy Rubin, says it would be unfair for Google to "compete with its customers" and that it remains dedicated to Android only as an operating system for outside hardware manufacturers. He adds that Google isn't particularly experienced at hardware design and that its influence on the T-Mobile G1's hardware design is more a negative than a positive.
The claim made for CNET may be supported by a rumor that Google co-designed the Droid, not only providing its official branding and full app suite but possibly guiding Motorola through much of the hardware design process. In this view, Google considers the Droid its signature Android 2.0 phone and as a consequence has gone to great lengths to boost its success.
Were it to produce its own hardware, Google would not only risk alienating HTC, Motorola and other Android partners but also Apple, whose iPhone depends heavily on Google services like Maps and YouTube. Conflicts of interest between the two regarding Android forced Google CEO Eric Schmidt to first recuse himself from some Apple board meetings and eventually to resign from the board altogether after Chrome OS created further conflicts.