Before the announcement of the Android OS, when everyone was talking about the rumored "Google Phone" or "G-Phone," I remember thinking that Google would follow Apple's lead in creating both the hardware and software elements of a phone. This mythical device never materialized when Android was announced, and Google stated that it was staying firmly on the software side of things, leaving the established phone manufacturers to create the devices that would use its operating system.
A new report on TechCrunch now states that Google is indeed developing its own complete Android phone from the ground up, including the complete hardware package to be sold under the Google branding. All the information is mostly unconfirmed rumors, but the information indicates that the device will be produced by a major phone manufacturer (possibly one of the Korean companies) and that Google will be in charge of everything, including the design and hardware specification. If true, the Google phone is expected to be released early next year backed by a major marketing push.
A great deal of skepticism has already greeted these rumors, pointing to previous statements from Google regarding its position as a software supplier and its desire to not compete with its own customers. New information now suggests that the Google phone may be VoIP and data only, eschewing the traditional voice plans and mobile networks. Hence the device would only operate on a 3G data network (AT&T has been mentioned as a candidate) using a program like Google Voice to make calls to conventional phones through the internet.
Again, these are all rumors at the moment but we'll be keeping an eye out for any further developments just in case they turn out to be fact. What are your thoughts on Google entering the mobile phone space with their own hardware? Would you be interested?