updated 09:15 am EST, Wed November 18, 2009
Google's own Android phone custom-made
Google's rumored self-developed Android phone is real but has been pushed back, a scoop claimed on late Tuesday. The handset would be built by a third party, most likely LG or Samsung rather than the previously preferred HTC, but would carry only Google's branding and is said by TechCrunch to be designed almost exclusively according to Google's design. It would launch in early 2010 after a delay but would receive heavy marketing as soon as January.
This wouldn't be one of Google's developer phones, such as the Dev Phone 1 or the Ion. Both of these were existing designs with the only change being unrestricted, reference installations of Android.
While these rumors have persisted in the past, Google has publicly denied such rumors by arguing that it doesn't want to compete with its own hardware partners. It has also maintained that what little influence it has had on Android phones' hardware design, such as on the T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream), has been more detrimental than helpful. However, it's been asserted in the past that Google has been taking an increasingly hands-on approach and may have heavily influenced the Droid.
The move would pit Google more directly against Apple as it would not only have its own mobile OS but also its own hardware. It may also create a conflict of interest as features like Google Maps Navigation may get preferential treatment.
Regardless, the same sources claim that a third phone, the long rumored HTC Dragon, has already been in late testing at Google for weeks and should be available "very soon." Most expect it to be a spiritual cousin of the Windows Mobile-based HD2 and to center on a large touchscreen with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. As there has been talk of more Android phones at Verizon in the next few weeks, the Dragon may be one of those devices.