If the release of the Android phone operating system didn't quite live up to the hype of being the inaugural Google phone then keep your eyes peeled for the Nexus One in early 2010 – that really will be the first handset from the search giant.

Reports from the Wall Street Journal say Google has already distributed the phone to some of its US employees and that it will market the device itself, not in partnership with any mobile operator.

iPhone threat

The Nexus One will by made by HTC and will run a heavily customised version of Android. The report also says customers will have to provide their own SIM cards, as the phone won't come with a service.

With Android already accounting for over five per cent of western European phone sales, the arrival of a new phone so heavily backed by Google will clearly have a significant impact on the smartphone market currently dominated by Apple and Nokia.