News has been swirling around a possible cellular initiative coming from Internet giant Google, and the buzz has heated up over the past week or so. Rumors coming from several sources about the so-called gPhone are pointing to a huge budget (we're talking billions of dollars here, folks) backing Google's planned foray into cellular on a global basis, with word coming from abroad that talks are underway regarding an India-first launch for the device early next year.
Now comes word that smartphone leader HTC has been tapped to build the gPhone itself, and that they've already provided Larry & Sergey with no fewer than 20 designs to choose from. Crunchgear is reporting word from an "HTC Insider" that the company is building a gPhone to be ready in time for a quarter 1 2008 release. The phone is reported to feature a WiFi-based Google Talk VoIP service alongside of a GPS-enabled version of Google Maps and, of course, compatibility with GMail and other of Google's applications.
While no further details have come forth regarding a possible free, ad-based subscription model, we'll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new. Alongside the tons of handsets and new services - T-Mobile@Home and WiMax, to name a few - slated for release this Fall and Winter, the GPhone promises to really heat up the mobile marketplace if it indeed does drop early next year.
Read: <A href="http://crunchgear.com/2007/08/27/cg-exclusive-htc-insider-confirms-existence-of-the-google-phone/">Crunchgear</a>: HTC Insider Confirms gPhone