Roughly a month ago, two high-ranking Google executives disavowed claims that the search giant was working on a cell phone. Google's Managing Director of south-east Asian sales and operations, Richard Kimber, stated in particular that Google had no interest in entering the "crowded handset market" and that it would instead rather port its software to third-party devices.
However, if a new report by DigiTimes is to be believed, those claims were more or less misdirection on Google's part. The Taiwanese site has word that smart phone maker HTC is busy manufacturing Google handsets, and that shipments of the devices will kick off at the end of this year. Rather than bearing HTC branding, the devices will reportedly be labeled only with the Google name and the name of the partnering network provider. Industry watchers quoted by DigiTimes believe European network provider Orange will be first to partner with Google for the phone's launch, which is expected to take place some time in 2008. Google phones will have 3G and EDGE support, built-in GMail and Google search, but no GPS functionality, DigiTimes claims.