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Google could sell own-brand phone direct by early 2010

NEW YORK - Google has given employees a prototype mobile phone to test, which it is reportedly planning to sell directly to consumers early next year.

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The web giant handed out the mobile phone, called Nexus One, to its employees late last week, but no details are being released to the public.

Mario Queiroz, vice-president of product management, wrote on Google's Mobile Blog: "At Google, we are constantly experimenting with new products and technologies, and often ask employees to test these products for quick feedback and suggestions for improvements in a process we call dogfooding [from 'eating your own dogfood'].

"We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, a device which 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."

According to TechCrunch.com, the Nexus One is set to launch in early January 2010.

Google plans to sell the phone itself online, reports the Wall Street Journal, and not through a wireless carrier. If this were to be the case, users would have to buy their wireless service separately.

The phone will run on Google's Android mobile operating system, which the web giant has already implemented on various mobile phones through partnerships with hardware makers and wireless carriers over the past two years.

Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One is thinner than the iPhone, has no keyboard, and features a voice-to-text service, according to TechCrunch.

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