Google VP confirms existence of exclusive ‘Google phone’

13 Dec 2009

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As Android-powered handsets from manufacturers like Samsung and HTC rampage through the market, a senior VP at Google has confirmed the existence of a Google handset used exclusively by the company’s employees.

Google has in the past denied it had any plans to make or manufacture a specific Google device, preferring to roll out operating systems and browsers for PCs and mobile phones that instead would prime the market for future online advertising revenue.

But there is in fact a Google-made handset. Unfortunately, it is exclusively for Google employees only and it is unclear whether the company ever plans to bring branded hardware to the market.

‘Dogfooding’

Google, as a company, engages in the software industry practice of "dogfooding" – effectively eating your own dog food – as a way of testing products for quick feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Mario Queiroz, vice-president, product management, in Google’s mobile devices lab, said in an official blog that the company is taking dogfooding to a whole new level by commissioning specific hardware to test new products on a global basis.

“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, 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.

“Unfortunately, because dogfooding is a process exclusively for Google employees, we cannot share specific product details. We hope to share more after our dogfood diet,” Queiroz said.

By John Kennedy

Photos: The HTC Hero Android-powered smart pone (above) and the Samsung Android-powered Galaxy Spica (below).

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com