Picture of Google's experimental Android phone appears on Twitter

Google mobile phone is roughly the same size as the iPhone, but with a bigger touchscreen

A picture of an experimental Android mobile phone given out to Google employees had blogs buzzing over the weekend amid signs that the company could offer a Google-branded smartphone next year.

The picture of the touchscreen phone, carried on sites including TechCrunch and Engadget, was posted online by Twitter user Cory O'Brien.

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O'Brien offered a few observations about the phone, which appears to be an upcoming HTC phone called Passion. He noted that the handset is the same size as Apple's iPhone but has a screen that is roughly 5 millimeters longer.

News of the new Android phone spread quickly on Saturday, after Google announced in a blog post that its employees were testing a new Android handset.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported Google plans to sell an Android-based phone called Nexus One directly to consumers starting next year. The phone will be sold online, it said.

The report did not say whether theĀ  phone distributed to Google employees is the same one that will be sold under the company's brand.

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