It's been a long time coming, but the Google Phone (Gphone) finally looks set to arrive this Christmas, with 50,000 units finding their way into the hands of developers. The handset will be made by smartphone specialist HTC, according to a report from market analysts UBS.

"These initial phones are not going to be for sale," Benjamin Scachter of UBS told CNN Money. "These are going to be available for developers only to understand how the software works."

Gphones on sales next year?

Schachter reckons that HTC won't be Google's only hardware partner for its new mobile operating system. He also believes it will tie up with other mobile phone companies like LG. He believes that the first Gphones will go on sale next year.

Speculation about the launch of a Gphone has been rife since the beginning of the year, when it looked like Google was trying to compete directly with the Apple iPhone. However no-one was really sure whether the Gphone would be a Google-branded hardware / software combo, or just a mobile phone OS that anyone could use. This still is not clear from the latest report.