HTC shipping out 50000 mobiles with Google OS?

Another day, another Gphone rumor. This go 'round, a UBS analyst is reportedly confirming that HTC "will ship about 50,000 cellphones running on a mobile operating system made by the Mountain View, California-based search giant by the end of this year." If you'll recall, this definitely isn't the first time we've heard these two names mentioned in the same sentence, but interestingly enough, analyst Benjamin Schachter actually suggested that the first batch wouldn't "be for sale" -- rather, they'd be used exclusively by developers "to understand how the software works." These reports also help substantiate the belief that Google will likely be focusing on software, and furthermore, Mr. Schachter insinuated that he wouldn't be too awfully shocked if another handset maker (such as LG, imagine that) also jumped in to provide hardware. Whatever the case, we'll be waiting in tense anticipation for a developer-led unboxing -- if this hubbub proves legitimate, of course.

[Thanks, Jeff]