According to Google's Mobile blog, the company distributed a new mobile phone running the Android platform as part of its mobile lab -- a process they call "dogfooding." The employees will test the beta-version smart phone in an attempt to improve it.
This led to speculation that Google's much-rumored Google Phone is now in play, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Google is calling it the Nexus One and is going to sell it without a locked-in wireless provider. (Apple's iPhone users are locked into using AT&T.) This means that the device won't be subsidized by a wireless partner and could be significantly more expensive. For instance, iPhones typically cost around $199, but the real cost of $550 is subsidized by AT&T.
Other pertinent information: It's manufactured by the Taiwanese company HTC, is thinner than the iPhone with a slightly larger screen. The Google phone could be available as early as January 2010, according to the New York Times.
If all this is true, then Google has jumped feetfirst into the mobile market and is obviously looking to take on Apple. In the last couple of weeks, Google has released several free applications for use with mobile phones, seemingly creating these apps specifically for the ramp-up. Perhaps these free apps will help mitigate the cost of an unlocked phone?
See photos of the new phone at Engadget.
Google's new phone may be for sale by January