The iPhone may have a competitor soon from none other than Apple's new buddy, Google. Tons of rumors are hitting the internets about the strong chances of a Google Phone, which most people are dubbing: gPhone.
The word is that smartphone maker HTC has submitted 20 prototype devices for Google to test and choose from. This piggybacks on rumors that Google is preparing to launch a Linux-based mobile OS.
CrunchGear believes that Google Talk will be integrated into the gPhone and give users VoIP capabilities as well as a native Google Maps application that interfaces with a built-in GPS.
Engadget notes that "Google's very quiet 2005 acquisition of mobile software company Android, started by Danger cofounder and former-prez / CEO Andy Rubin" led to a "a Linux-based mobile device OS (no surprise) which they're currently shopping around to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, customizable system -- with really great Google integration, of course."
They don't think that Google will be selling the hardware, but it looks like we'll start to see Google OS phones soon. This could mean phones from multiple companies on multiple carriers all running the new OS. Is this the next step in the cell phone UI revolution started by Apple?
TechCrunch seems to think so, saying, "Google’s effort is different than the iPhone. They look to be focused mostly on the OS and layering Google applications like Maps and Gmail on top of that, while simultaneously talking to device manufacturers about a number of devices."
We'll keep you posted as more develops (or un-develops).
CrunchGear: CG Exclusive: HTC Insider Confirms Existence of the Google Phone
Engadget: Google is working on a mobile OS, and it's due out shortly
TechCrunch: Lots and Lots of Google Phone Rumors: HTC, Android, and even Yahoo in the mix