Google's much-rumored Nexus One smartphone will be officially supported by T-Mobile upon release, according to a new rumor circulating online. Most of the speculation about the device may well be settled on Jan. 5, when Google hosts an "Android Press Gathering" at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
A Dec. 29 post on Boy Genius Report offered a photograph of a T-Mobile internal memo, purportedly taken by an inside source, that suggested a new Android smartphone will be launched by Google "with support from T-Mobile" in early January.
"The Google Android phone will be sold directly by Google via the Web," read the internal missive.
The message, marked for "T-Mobile Internal Use Only," continued: "Support for the device, including troubleshooting and exchanges, will be managed by Google and HTC. T-Mobile will offer service support including billing, coverage, features and rate plans. Additional details and Streamline content regarding the launch of Google's Android phone will be coming in early January."
TmoNews, which bills itself as "the unofficial T-Mobile blog," also displayed a screenshot of the internal memo. The blog's sources suggested that the smartphone will be launched on Jan. 5 in relation to the Android Press Gathering.
"With the launch of the first Android-powered device just over a year ago," reads the invitation, rhetorically reminiscent of ones Apple sends before it launches new devices, "we've seen how a powerful, open platform can spur mobile product innovation. And this is just the beginning of what's possible."
The event also includes an hour and a half for unnamed "demonstrations," reinforcing the idea that Google will be showing off a product.
Google may be timing its announcement to preempt the start of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, scheduled to kick off its keynote addresses the next day in Las Vegas. Traditionally, product news from CES occupies the bulk of tech news coverage for the rest of the week in which it runs.
Rumors that the Nexus One will be supported by T-Mobile have been drifting around online for weeks. In keeping with Droid, Verizon's Android-powered smartphone named after the robots in George Lucas' "Star Wars" series, the name Nexus One could very well be a nod to the cyborgs in Philip K. Dick's novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" later made into the Ridley Scott film "Blade Runner."
Earlier in December, Google employees were reportedly given the HTC-manufactured device to test. The Nexus One runs the Android 2.1 operating system, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and runs on GSM. With regard to its form factor and lack of physical keyboard, it is reminiscent of another Android smartphone crafted by HTC, the Droid Eris.
Although T-Mobile seems to be officially supporting the smartphone, and could offer a substantial subsidy to users who purchase one with a two-year contract, the Nexus One will also come unlocked-and reportedly cost up to $500.
Another rumor suggests that the Google will make the Nexus One available by invitation only. Google declined to confirm this for eWEEK.
But that question, and many like it, could very well be answered on Jan. 5.