Is Google planning its own branded smartphone?

Wed, Nov 18, 2009

News, Rumors

That’s what TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington seems to believe in a recent postwhere, citing inside knowledge, he claims that Google is hard at work creating their own branded smartphone scheduled for a 2010 release.

But there are a few things we have absolutely confirmed: Google is building their own branded phone that they’ll sell directly and through retailers. They were long planning to have the phone be available by the holidays, but it has now slipped to early 2010. The phone will be produced by a major phone manufacturer but will only have Google branding (Microsoft did the same thing with their first Zunes, which were built by Toshiba.

There won’t be any negotiation or compromise over the phone’s design of features – Google is dictating every last piece of it. No splintering of the Android OS that makes some applications unusable. Like the iPhone for Apple, this phone will be Google’s pure vision of what a phone should be.

Well that sure is an interesting rumor, but it seems unlikely that Google would release their own smartphone just as the Android OS is starting to take off.  Android is far from a mature platform at this point, and there’s still an incredible amount of room for the OS to grow as the number handset manufacturers opting for Android will inevitably increase.  Why, in their right minds, would Google want to create a phone that would compete with its partners so early in the game?  Especially when Google has publicly made assurances that it would do no such thing.

Moreover, Google’s head of Android development, Andy Rubin, stated just 2 weeks ago that Google had no plans to manufacture their own phone.  “We’re not making hardware,” Rubin said, “we’re enabling other people to build hardware.”

So is the rumor to be believed?  Well, anything’s possible, and Steve Jobs is quite talented at misdirection when it comes to Apple’s future product plans.  But seeing as the source for the rumor is Michael Arrington, we’re gonna have to call BS on this one.  If you recall, Arrington is the same bozo who all but guaranteed that Google had already purchased twitter a few months back.


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