update--The head of Google in Spain and Portugal has confirmed that Google is working on a mobile phone. "Some of the time the engineers are dedicated to developing a mobile phone," Isabel Aguilera is quoted as saying on the Spanish-news Web site Noticias.com.
A Google spokeswoman in the United States released this statement when asked for comment: "Mobile is an important area for Google and we remain focused on creating applications and establishing and growing partnerships with industry leaders to develop innovative services for users worldwide. However, we have nothing further to announce."
Google stateside has repeatedly declined to comment on rumors of a Google Phone, but the smoke has been rising lately. Earlier this month, Simeon Simeonov of Polaris Venture Partners wrote in his blog that an inside source told him the Google Phone will be a BlackBerry-like device running C++ at the core with an operating system bootstrap, or loading program, and optimized Java, and that it would offer voice over Internet Protocol.
Rumors also circulated that Google and Samsung were building a phone, code-named "Switch," Simeonov said, and his posting includes what he claims is a leaked photo of the device. That wouldn't be so far-fetched, since Google and Samsung announced a partnership in January to bundle mobile versions of Google Search, Google Maps and Gmail on certain Samsung phones. Late last year, the rumor was that France Telecom Group's mobile-telephony division Orange was in discussions with Google.
Plus, Google has on its payroll Andy Rubin, the founder of handheld device maker Danger who later started Android, a mobile-software maker that Google bought in 2005. Google also acquired mobile-applications company Reqwireless and secretly acquired a company called Skia, whose first product is a portable graphics engine that renders 2D graphics on handhelds.