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Nexus One, A Google Phone In Name Only?

Despite the Google branding, don't count on Google getting into the handset business.

On Tuesday, Google plans to hold a press conference to discuss the state of its Android mobile operating system. The company is widely expected to provide details about the Nexus One phone that employees have not so secretly been testing.

With the hardware specifications of the Nexus One no longer a mystery -- hardware Web site Engadget reports that the HTC-build device runs Android 2.1 using a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU with 512MB of ROM, 512MB of RAM beneath a 3.7-inch, 480 x 800 touch screen -- there's one major question to be answered.

Is Google actually handling the phone inventory and distribution?

The Nexus One will reportedly be available for $180 through T-Mobile with a two-year contract and for $530 unlocked. But will Google really be doing anything other than referring orders to HTC or T-Mobile?

"It really comes down to who owns the inventory," said Gartner VP Ken Dulaney. "For this to be a Google phone, they would have to. If it's not that, then it's an HTC phone with a Google label and it doesn't break the relationships they have with their [Android manufacturing partners]."

Dulaney says that if Google actually takes on the Nexus One inventory, they're going to anger all their Android partners.

"I would see it as a very questionable move," he said. "If they're going to do that, they should just take over the whole thing and say good-bye."

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