After months of speculation, the tech blogosphere was ignited this week when it became clear (firstly via employee Twitter feeds but later substantiated by Google's own blog) that Google employees were actively testing the new handset prior to launch.
Although the specifications themselves have yet to be formally confirmed by Google, the consensus of the technorati (specifically TechCrunch, Boy Genius reports and Mashable.com) is as follows:
- The handset specified and designed by Google but built by HTC with a form factor similar to the HTC Passion (pictured above)
- Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and will feature a high-resolution OLED capacitive touch screen and two distinct microphones (presumed to help eliminate background noise and facilitate voice-to-text features)
- Android 2.1 OS with user interface designed and built by Google
- Launch in January 2010 (US at least) and sold directly via retailers/online as well as operator/carriers - unlike the iPhone, there will be no lock-in with specific operators
Suffice to say the arrival of a Google branded phone is a further shot in the arm for the Android platform, will shake up the smartphone competition and could provide Apple with further serious competition to the iPhone in 2010.