Google set to launch its own mobile phone

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The Independent Tech

The search engine giant Google is working on the development of its own mobile phone device, although it is unclear whether it will be sold directly to consumers.

Mario Queiroz, Google's vice president of product management, said in a blog post: "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."

It has teamed up with handset maker HTC for the project. As yet, the company has not released an official name, although codenames are believed to include Phone 88 and Nexus One, a reference to the film Blade Runner.

The company's foray into mobiles has so far been limited to the development of its operating system Android and has partnered with a host of operators, including T-Mobile and Orange, to launch devices. It is unclear what effect the potential launch of its new phone would have on agreements with other operators.

The news emerged after the company handed out the phones to employees last week to test. Mr Queiroz said the company often asks its staff to test products in a process it calls "dogfood – from eating your own dogfood".