The first coherent rumblings of a Google branded smartphone started sprouting up a few weeks ago. At the time, Gizmodo wrote that it was only a matter of weeks before Google phones would begin to find their way into the hands of Google employees. And true to form, that’s exactly how things have played out.
TechCrunch first broke the story last night by directing us to a number of telling tweets from Google employees.
Google manager Leslie Hawthorne tweeted, “Stuck in mass of traffic leaving work post last all hands of 2009. ZOMG we had fireworks and we all got the new Google phone. It’s beautiful.”
Another tweeter noted, “A friend from Google showed me the new Android 2.1 phone from HTC coming out in Jan. A sexy beast. Like an iPhone on beautifying steroids.”
And lastly, a CNET producer layed down a series of interesting tweets last night. Pooled together, they read as follows:
“I just had my hands on the Google Phone. I feel so privileged! … The new Google Phone runs on HTC hardware. I saw it w/ Android 2.1 Homescreen has new visual enhancements like animated desktop wallpaper… Wasn’t able to gander @ h/w specs unfortunately… Supposedly Google employees were given tons of these phones today. unlocked… It was thin. Dare I say as if not a bit thinner than iPhone. Scrolly ball like on the hero. This one was running on AT&T… Capacitive touch screen and on screen keyboard only, yes. Re: AT&T, it was unlocked. Dude just put an AT&T sim in it 2 test it…”
And earlier today, Google confirmed in a blogpost that they are indeed “dogfood” testing a new Android device with Google employees all around the world.
TechCrunch, who first broke the story, writes that the Google Phone is being positioned for an early January, 2010 launch as an unlocked GSM device. As for some of the more interesting specs, the hardware is obviously from HTC and is actually thinner than the iPhone. The device is a pure touchscreen with no physical keyboard, and comes with a high-res OLED capacitive touchscreen. In addition, the Google Phone reportedly comes with two microphones, with one having the task of eliminating background noise. TC also writes that the Google Phone comes with a “weirdly large camera” along with a “voice-to-text feature” that lets users dictate emails and texts simply by speaking into the phone.
Talk about an increasingly competitive market for smartphones, and looking back, it now seems ridiculous that Google CEO Eric Schmidt served on the Apple board just a few short months ago.