Filed Away for Future Claim Chowder: Mike Arrington Says Google Is Making Its Own Android Phone

Mike Arrington says Google is definitely making its own phone, coming in “early 2010”:

Way more interesting are the rumors we’ve been hearing for months about a pure Google-branded phone. Most of our sources have unconfirmed information, which we describe below. 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. They were long planning to have the phone be available by the holidays, but it has now slipped to early 2010. The phone will be produced by a major phone manufacturer but will only have Google branding (Microsoft did the same thing with their first Zunes, which were built by Toshiba).

That puts Arrington on the same side as the almost-always-full-of-shit Scott Moritz. On the other side: Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering for Android at Google, who just two weeks ago said Google would not “compete with its customers” and “We’re not making hardware. We’re enabling other people to build hardware.”

So either Mike Arrington is totally wrong or Andy Rubin is a liar.

At the outset of Google’s Android initiative, I was a proponent of their creating a Google-branded, Google-designed reference handset. But at this point, after promising their hardware partners for 18 months that they wouldn’t do that, I don’t see how Google could do it without infuriating their partners and spoiling their trust. It’d be like what Microsoft did to its PlaysForSure partners when it introduced the Zune.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009