Google Phone Buzz Again ...

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Is it real or a PR buzz generator for Google? The device is built by HTC and patterned after the HTC Passion but is reportedly thinner than the iPhone. Is this just a Passion running an alpha version of Android 2.1?  Google employees have been tweeting and showing off their new toy to their friends. This has generated a storm of speculation and controversy on the blogs both in favor and against Google selling their own hardware. Google has handed out developer phones before such as the unlocked G1 HTC Dream last year. In the U.S., if I buy this unlocked phone I can put in my AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card and get it to work. But I would be unhappy if it only supports EDGE speeds on the AT&T network! Unlocked phones occasionally suffer some technical disadvantages by not supporting advanced services and quite often ratchet down in connect speed. The Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm runs 30% faster and consumes less than 10 milliwatts in standby mode. This makes video scream, but I'd be concerned with getting the bandwidth I need with the carrier. You'll get free GPS voice navigation, Google Talk/Wave and QR (Quick Response) Tagging; making it a great advertising vehicle. Google's taking a play out of Apple's playbook. The innovator needs to have some level of control over both the hardware and the software of the device. The challenge will be in managing the market supply chain and technical ecosystem. They should target prepaid MVNO carriers who need a decent smartphone option thereby avoiding the potential backlash from paid subscription carriers.  I will probably add one to my utility belt in January.