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The Google Phone: As Marvin Gaye would say, “What’s going on?”

This weekend saw a veritable flurry of rumours, news, photos, tweets and reports on the elusive Google phone. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotion – from surprise to jealousy, confusion and gentle realisation as details fuzzily begin to emerge.

The rumours have been surfacing for some time now, but at the tail end of last week Google employees were given Google phones to test out. We know this because quite a few of them Tweeted about it, so it doesn’t look like they were told to keep it on the down-low.

You may remember the term ‘Google Phone’ from back when it referred to the G1, the first Android handset. Unlike the G1, this Google Phone will be branded Google, not ‘with Google’ – at least we think that’s the case.

According to Wired, the handset will break cover in January and be sold unlocked – although there are also reports of a partnership with T-Mobile. By rejecting traditional coalitions with phone networks, Google will retain control over the whole of the handset – hardware- and software-wise – leaving more scope for developers and users alike.

Engadget rather sneakily discovered some first-look photos of the handset – which is being called the Nexus One although no one has any real idea whether or not that name will stick. Complete with an OLED screen, dual microphones and a camera, it looks set to take on the iPhone in both the looks and spec departments. It’ll run Android 2.1 and will include a microSD slot, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1.

Another breakthrough this morning came when Engadget spotted the handset’s FCC filing. This has confirmed the Google Phone’s existence beyond any doubt, although it’s also thrown up some more confusion about what networks it will be able to run on, as well as data speeds… We’ll hold tight for more established information but you can read Engadget’s take on it all here.

What we’re basically looking at is a lot of hype around a phone which many are expecting to be a game changer. From Twitter-based reports from Google employees, the phone is thought to be lightning fast with great user interface and sleek, stylish looks.

As Google itself puts it on the Google Mobile Blog:

“We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities…”

Google Phone, Nexus One – call it what you will. Put aside all the confusion, and we’re frankly pretty excited about it. Roll on 2010.

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