Would Google Phone be the next big thing?

The Google Phone is real after all. And it is likely to hit the market soon, maybe as early as the beginning of 2010.

Over the weekend, Google announced that it handed tons of phones to company employees worldwide for testing and feedback. The news set the Internet agog with Tweets and messages about the phone, with folks labeling it as a "sexy beast" and an "iPhone on beautifying steroids."

Engadget has some photos of the new phone, which WalletPop wrote about earlier today.

The initial reaction has been a big thumbs up. According to Cory O'Brien, a San Francisco-based blogger, the phone is like an iPhone plus extra screen, scroll wheel and a great touch screen, and which runs on Android. The Wall Street Journal reports that it is called Nexus One, a model manufactured by HTC but which will run on hardware, software and user interface that are designed entirely by Google and will be sold unlocked online.

If this is correct, than Google will follow a practice that is rare in the U.S. market. Most phones are sold via a carrier. The unlocked phone will run on the T-Mobile network that follows the GSM protocol. Currently, Google partners with Verizon and T-Mobile and they offer a number of phones that run on Google's Android Operating System. It is unclear how they will view this unlocked offer. But, if this phone can successfully compete against the iPhone that runs only on the AT&T network, they should not have too many complaints.

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