A Google Phone sanity check – December, 2009 edition

December 14, 2009
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    Google Android LogoThese Google Nexus One rumors are really picking up a full head of steam.  We’re all excited for something new, something special.  But we also need to keep our wits about us and look at what’s going on now as compared with the past.

    For one, we’ve heard many, many “Google Phone” rumors over the past few years, and none have come to result in anything but a regular phone sold by carriers in the end. And while the Wall Street Journal and others talk of Google selling this Nexus One “direct to consumers”, it should be kept in mind that both the T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream and the HTC Magic are already sold by Google w/o a contract and unlocked as the Android Dev Phone 1 and Android Dev Phone 2 (Ion). Each costs $399 and can be purchased by anybody registered as a developer, and anybody can register.

    So far, Google has never mentioned anything about selling a Google Phone, or selling any unlocked phones on a scale larger than that of the current developer handsets.  Doing so could seriously piss off both carriers and its Android hardware partners, too.  It’s the reason Microsoft has, so far, not built its own phone.

    People are also talking about all sorts of crazy new Google developed hardware and software, but so far the hardware seen in the photos looks just like any number of HTC designs we’ve seen leaked, and not all that different from the HTC DROID Eris that is available on the market now.

    On top of that, the screen shots floating around Twitter show an Android OS with few changes, except for maybe animated backgrounds on the homescreen.  The shots look like Android 2.0.1 on the Motorola DROID with some 2.1′ish tweaks.

    And while Google has admitted to supplying employees with new phones with new software, it hasn’t indicated that any consumers will get access to the device.

    So keep this all in mind.  Until Google, and nobody else, tells us what its plans are, if any, nothing is fact other than Google has supplied its employees with a phone to test new software.

    -Michael

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