Google Rolls Out "Mobile Lab" Android Test Phones to Employees

Google began giving test units of an Android-based phone to employees last week, the company said in a blog entry on Saturday, December 12th. The device is made by HTC (according to Bloomberg), and runs software that allows employees to test out new features in advance of the eventual "beta" designation those features will receive when rolled out to customers.

Many, including Bloomberg and several hundred posters at Google's blog, took the company's announcement to mean that employees were testing the long-awaited "gPhone," an Android phone made and controlled by Google in the same way Apple makes and controls the iPhone.

Google's blog post, however, makes it clear in describing the device as a "mobile lab" intended as a hardware platform specifically built to allow for employee testing of those above-mentioned new features.

"The device," Mario Queiroz, Vice President, Product Management for Google wrote, "combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe. This means they get to test out a new technology and help improve it."

The company described the program as an example of "dogfooding," a handy new verb for to-eat-your-own-dogfood. Other than the internal designation, dogfooding, Google said that mum's the word on any other details until the dogfood diet is complete.