Google to launch own smartphone: report

Google will soon launch its own branded smartphone that it will sell both directly and through retailers, according to a report.

Google will soon launch its own branded smartphone that it will sell both directly and through retailers, according to a report.

The phone was originally supposed to be available before the holidays but that has now slipped to early 2010, according to widely read technology blog TechCrunch. The device will be built by another manufacturer, possibly HTC or LG, but it will be branded solely as a Google phone.

"Most of our sources have unconfirmed information," the report said, "but there are a few things we have absolutely confirmed: Google is building their own branded phone that they’ll sell directly and through retailers."

Google currently supplies the operating system, Android, that a number of cellphone manufacturers — including HTC, LG and Motorola — have adopted. Having its own branded phone would give Google complete control over its functions, according to the report.

"Like the iPhone for Apple, this phone will be Google's pure vision of what a phone should be," it said.

With its own device, Google wouldn't encounter issues such as Apple's denial of Google Voice, a service that enables free calling and texting features. Apple's blocking of the Voice application is being probed by U.S. regulators as a possible anticompetitive action.

A spokesperson for Google said the company does not comment on rumour and speculation.

A Google-branded phone, although giving the company greater control over how the device works, would compete with handsets made by its Android partners. In Canada, HTC and LG sell Android phones, with Motorola joining them in early 2010 with the Milestone, the Canadian version of the acclaimed Droid, which is now available in the United States.