Google's Phone: Rumors, Facts and Speculation

It’s been a busy weekend for the rumor known as the Googlephone, which has been around for years in one form or another and has recently appeared to be firming up into something that just might be real. Very little is official, but we know a few things for sure, more scuttlebutt has emerged, and it’s still fun to ask questions even if we have no way of answering them yet.

Herewith, a quick recap of where we are as of early Monday morning:

What we know

  • Last week, Google doled out Android phones to employees. It admitted as much in a blog post Saturday morning, which used Silicon Valley’s always-appetizing metaphor of eating one’s own dogfood to explain that the phones were being used to test “new mobile features and capabilities.”

  • The phone apparently is the one in the photo above (which I stole from this Twitpic). That would appear to make it a version of an upcoming HTC phone known as the Passion.

  • It’s got a trackball, obviously. If it’s a Passion variant, it also lacks a physical keyboard. It’s a GSM phone, which means it’ll work on AT&T and T-Mobile but not Verizon or Sprint. And Engadget has some more photos and says that it runs Android 2,1, adds “3D elements to the app tray,” and has Web-OS-style previews of all the home screens. In another post, it says it has MicroSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 7.2mbps down and 2-MBps up.

  • It’s named (or at least code-named) the Nexus One.

What we may know

  • TechCrunch says it’ll be sold unlocked–direct by Google and at retailers–and adds the following details: “The phone is ‘really, really fast,’ says someone who has seen one in action. It runs on a Snapdragon chip, has a super high-resolution OLED touchscreen, is thinner than the iPhone, has no keyboard, and two mics. The mic on the back of the phone helps eliminate background noise, and it also has a ‘weirdly’ large camera for a phone. And if you don’t like the touchscreen keyboard, a voice-to-text feature is supposed to let you dictate emails and notes by speaking directly into the phone.”

  • All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka is reporting that Google plans to sell the phone without a subsidy from a wireless carrier–but that T-Mobile will help market it. He doesn’t have much in the way of details.

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