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Google phone in employees' hands? [x3]

updated 11:00 am EST, Sat December 12, 2009

Android flagship spotted using AT&T

(Updated with name, T-Mobile tip) The rumored Google-branded Android phone may already be in the hands of Google staff based on multiple reports. Twitter updates from Google Program Director Leslie Hawthorn as well as those in contact with Google employees, such as Great White Snark's founder and CNET's Jason Howell all report "tons" of "Google phones" having arrived at the search giant's campus on Friday. The phone is described as an HTC-branded, touchscreen-only device that would run Android 2.1 and run on GSM networks; the phone given to developers is unlocked and known to run on AT&T, though whether it's specifically intended for that carrier isn't known.

Visually, the phone is described as "like an iPhone on beautifying steroids" and possibly thinner than its potential Apple rival. It has a scroll ball much like the existing HTC Hero. Few features of Android 2.1 have been made evident, but it does appear to add support for animated wallpaper.

If anecdotes prove true, public details would appear as early as the next few days and would have the phone available in January, corroborating rumors of an early 2010 release.

The leaks contradict claims that any Google-labeled phone would be made by LG or Samsung and also goes against Google's own public statements denying a self-designed phone. It has long argued that it has at most had a minor hand in shaping hardware and that favoring one phone over another would hurt the Android ecosystem. As such, the "Google phone" may simply be the HTC Passion (possibly pictured below) sold as a regular, if high-profile, HTC Android phone for one or more US carriers.

To date, most have expected the Motorola Droid to be Google's signature Android phone, but beyond using it to demo new Android 2.0 features the Mountain View-based company hasn't attached itself strongly to the one device.

Update: Google has partly confirmed the phone and calls it a "mobile lab" that includes both "innovative hardware" and Android to test new features. The company plans to provide more information about the phone once it's passed through testing with employees. The T-Mobile G1 and myTouch 3G both went through this cycle as the Google Dev Phone 1 and Google Ion respectively.

Update 2: Electronista has heard from a source that, although the phone can run on AT&T, it's actually meant for T-Mobile like earlier Google developer phones. This doesn't necessarily mean any public-facing phone will use the same network.

Update 3: Another leak today from the Wall Street Journal points to the phone being labeled the Nexus One, using an all-Google software array and being sold directly to home users as an unlocked model. [via TechCrunch]



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Comments

  1. Bearcat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    0

    Scroll Ball???

    If this phone has a scroll ball then why would I want it in the first place? Hello???? Ever heard of the Blackberry scroll ball? It gets super dirty and then doesn't work. Yeah, line me up for that one. I think not.

  1. Cbrguy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009

    +2

    Scroll Ball

    Unless the demo phones at best buy are not realistic mockups, the scroll ball on the hero (by HTC) does not work the same as on the balckberry. It's more of a d-pad shrunk down to a little ball, meaning it doesn't actually roll, just clicks up down left right. I haven't tried a real phone however, just the demo at BB.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    -4

    The Motorola Droid is going to be cast

    adrift by Google and will likely be left somewhere to die an untimely death. Looking at some of the HTC smartphones, I know Motorola-made smartphones are going to be left in the dust in terms of design and features. Google is going to burn all of it's Android partners by giving their own Google-branded smartphones all of the latest goodies. I wouldn't trust Google at all.
    Apple is smart to be doing everything on its own so it doesn't get backstabbed.

    Once thing for certain is that any HTC smartphones that have Google support are going to have about twice as many features as an iPhone. Bigger and better displays, card slots, 1GHz processors, 8MP cameras with videoconferencing. Google is getting ready to take down the iPhone even if it has to lose money in the process.

  1. facebook_Nq

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2009

    -4

    Google New Mobile Strategy

    Google is moving down in the stack to challenge B2C opponents with an open architecture and new sets of standards. In creating a post-revenue business model, Google can only manage success if consumers accept a co-branding and outsourced manufactured device ... NQ Logic recommends reading about the rest of the new Google's mobile strategy at www.nqlogic.com

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    Ha!

    "Touch the Android to Begin." Sounds like a come on line from C-3PO.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    Irony of ironies...

    if the Droid gets backstabbed by Google then Motorola is definitely in "fooled me twice" territory. (Remember the ROKR anyone?) Et tu, Googoo?

  1. OpenOSX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    +1

    Good luck!

    First of all - the only thing worse than a scroll ball is a fake scroll ball! Talking about 2 steps backwards.

    From what I have seen, the specs on this thing is only marginally better than the iPhone.

    Given that this product is not even on the market yet - I think that they will have to do better than that. A future device can't compete with existing products - it will have to compete with the next generation of products - which I suspect will leave this thing in the dust.

    And Apple would NEVER let the public know what they have up their sleeves. Pretty foolish of Google to do so IMHO.

  1. ibugv4

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003

    +1

    Where is the flash?

    I don't really see what could be a flash on this phone.

    No flash, no sale.

    The flash is the key item that sold me on the Droid over any other phone out there.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: Good luck!

    From what I have seen, the specs on this thing is only marginally better than the iPhone.

    Given that this product is not even on the market yet - I think that they will have to do better than that. A future device can't compete with existing products - it will have to compete with the next generation of products - which I suspect will leave this thing in the dust.


    And you're assuming that a released phone would be the exact same specs here. Perhaps this is just the demo model to test the UI. Hardware is easy to upgrade.

    And aren't Apple people always telling everyone else specs aren't everything?

    And Apple would NEVER let the public know what they have up their sleeves. Pretty foolish of Google to do so IMHO.

    Yes, because if Apple does something, it must always be the correct way to do things.

    Except they did NOT release this to the public, someone got their hands on one and passed around pictures (just like people did with the iPhone).

    And, in case you forgot, Apple announced/showed off the iPhone 6 months before release, giving everyone a chance to 'catch up' or see what's coming. And then they did the same thing for the 3G. Yet that didn't seem to hurt Apple.

  1. Triath.lon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    0

    comment title

    the phone is described as "like an iPhone on beautifying steroids" - am i missing something, or do we have a different definition for what looks good?

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