TheStreet: The GPhone Cometh?

Google's Android is starting to gain real visibility and momentum with HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Dell, Acer and other OEMs putting out devices with various carriers globally. Many see Google's open-source software approach, disconnecting software and the handset, as a key to success.

Microsoft by the way argues the same thing: software, running on many handsets is the right strategy vs. Apple's integrated hardware and software approach, which has produced a superior user experience but may limit its ultimate penetration, according to some.  

Gartner projects that Android will be second only to Symbian by 2012 among smartphone operating systems. Now, according to TheStreet, Google is planning to develop its own branded (but unlocked) handset:

In what is likely to be seen as disruptive to the wireless status quo, Google is working with a smartphone manufacturer to have a Google-branded phone available this year through retailers and not through telcos, according to Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar, who has talked to Google's design partners about the plan.

I suppose Google couldn't resist in a way. If Google does release such a phone its success will be determined largely by a combination of cost and functionality. But given the intensifying competition already emerging among Android handsets, it will be tough to create a new phone that's much better than those.