The much-rumoured gPhone turned out to be "not one, but a thousand gPhones" when Google announced the launch of Android, its mobile phone operating system, but that is about to change.

While it's unclear what has prompted the internet giant to make the switch to offer its own hardware, design sources from within Google have revealed it is to offer an Android smartphone of its own.

"Google is working with a smartphone manufacturer to have a Google-branded phone available this year through retailers and not through telcos, according to Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar, who has talked to Google's design partners about the plan", reports

By offering the phone direct to consumers, rather than through an operator, it could be suggested Google's reason for a move into manufacturing could be to allow the consumer - and not the operator - to decide on features and apps, such as Google Talk, the VoIP solution.

The report suggests that the phone will use Qualcomm chips and could possibly be manufactured by HTC, a company Google appears to have good relations with that has worked with Android since day one.

The same source also reports that a Google Chrome netbook, again with Qualcomm chips and made by Qunata, will go on sale next summer.