Google Building Its Own Android Phone

Despite Google's insistance that it isn't building its own Android-based smartphone, TechCrunch is claiming that's exactly what the search engine giant is doing.

"Way more interesting are the rumors we've been hearing for months about a pure Google-branded phone," TechCrunch's Michael Arrington said. "Most of our sources have unconfirmed information."

Apparently, Google is designing a smartphone based on the its Android platform. The rumored phone is set to appear sometime in early 2010, and will be built by a major cell phone manufacturer for Google.

Mr. Arrington's sources, however, seem to be contradicting what Andy Rubin, Google's head of Android development, said at the beginning of November. "We're not making hardware. We're enabling other people to build hardware," he said.

So far, Google has presented its Android platform as a tool for other companies to use with their own smartphone products and has been pretty clear on its plans to stay away from designing its own hardware.

If Google does release its own Android-based phone, the company could find itself competing in the smartphone market much in the same way that Microsoft is competing in the MP3 player market. Instead of stealing market share from Apple, Google could end up eating away at the market share of other Android phone makers.