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Does A Job Ad Signal The Return Of The Google Phone?

Just when you thought it was safe to deny the existence of a Google Phone, more rumors stir the blogosphere. Late last week Dan Jones at Unstrung pointed out that Google posted a job ad for hardware product manager. So much for Google not getting into the hardware business. Oh, it gets better.
Just when you thought it was safe to deny the existence of a Google Phone, more rumors stir the blogosphere. Late last week Dan Jones at Unstrung pointed out that Google posted a job ad for hardware product manager. So much for Google not getting into the hardware business. Oh, it gets better.This isn't the only wireless job ad on Google's site. Jones pointed out another posting advertising a position for a strategic partner development manager. They're looking for someone with "extensive partner/business development experience working with large U.S. wireless carriers and handset OEMs."

Sounds like they're working on a mobile phone to me. If they're not, then Google plans to hire some people who will go a long way -- and I do mean a really long way -- to make sure that they help their hardware partners get handsets to market. Somehow, I don't think they're hiring people just to help their handset partners.

On top of these job ads, last week rumors broke that HTC would ship the Google Phone by either the end of 2007 or early 2008.

And if you can't keep up with all the Google Phone rumors, check out this nifty Google Phone timeline, complete with another post pointing out signs that Google is working on a phone.

Rumors that Google has a handset in development have been around for the last four months. Last month a Google executive in Europe confirmed the device, only to have other Google executives run out to deny the confirmation afterwards.

What do you think? Does the HTC story combined with the job ads on Google's site convince you that they are really building a cell phone? Or do these job ads represent something else entirely?