We understand that the "Gphone OS" (our name for it, not theirs) began development after Google's very quiet 2005 acquisition of mobile software company Android, started by Danger cofounder and former-prez / CEO Andy Rubin. At Google, Andy's team has developed a Linux-based mobile device OS (no surprise) which they're currently shopping around to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, customizable system -- with really great Google integration, of course.
As for the timeframe on this thing, we keep hearing Google will announce its mobile plans some time post-Labor Day (September 3rd); from what we've heard Google isn't necessarily working on hardware of its own, but is definitely working with OEMs and ODMs to get them to put the Gphone OS on upcoming devices. Think of it more in terms of Windows Mobile or Palm OS (in the early days) -- Google wants to supply the platform, but we don't think they want to sell hardware. Still, don't entirely rule out the idea. Andy Rubin knows how to make a device and put it in peoples' hands, so nothing is impossible on the hardware side. Either way, we're totally stoked to peep the software, we've been waiting for the Googlephone for years on years.
Still, we can't help wondering what El Jobso thinks about all this. Apple has been so buddy-buddy with Google lately, especially on the iPhone -- and now Apple's mobile team is on the verge of outright competition with one of its closest partners. We know that's how the industry works, but it's got to sting a little, you know?