We have seen the Droid and there are other phones running Google’s Android operating system, but evidence is mounting that we will soon be treated to the real thing: an Android handset from Google.
Google will begin to sell its very own Android 2.1 handset, designed by Google and manufactured by hardware partner HTC. Such a phone would probably be an real rival to the iPhone. It will be called the Nexus One and will be sold online by Google itself. Rumor has it that the phone will be sold in an unlocked state. Therefore, it will be usable on any network which can handle GSM signals. For better or for worse, that lets out the Verizon network. It means T-Mobile and AT&T only, and perhaps only on the Edge band with the AT&T option, according to Wired.
The Google Mobile Blog has somewhat cryptic confirmation of the existence of the phone and others have found user agent strings from the phone on their logs. Google’s blog has the following to say:
We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe. This means they get to test out a new technology and help improve it.
Unfortunately, because dogfooding is a process exclusively for Google employees, we cannot share specific product details. We hope to share more after our dogfood diet.
Photos of the phone are already appearing in the press, as are the specs for the new phone. It is being said that the Nexus will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, use an OLED display, be even thinner than the iPhone (no physical keyboard here) and feature two microphones along with a very large camera. If the rest of the specs match those, the Nexus could make everyone forget about the Droid and allow the new phone from Google to be the big competition for the iPhone.
If the phone is sold unlocked and online by Google, there will be no immediate contribution by a wireless carrier to the price of the handset, expected to be in the neighborhood of $600. A carrier could, however, opt to give the Nexus user a cash bonus for signing up, which would amount to the same thing, or give an equivalent in free service, both with the requisite two-year contract, of course. This is an event that could throw a lot of wrinkles into the world of the smartphone, and especially that of the Apple iPhone.