But while dictating the phone experience makes sense for Apple--a company that has a long history in designing polished hardware--Google is not about launching polished products. Can the company that made beta a punchline deliver on a complete customer experience the first time around? Sure, the original iPhone lacked smartphone basics like cut-and-paste, video capability and MMS. But with the exception of video, those are all software issues. The fact is, from a hardware perspective, the original iPhone was a revolutionary and complete product. There's no question iPhone hardware has improved over time, but that doesn't take anything away from the original design.
Google, on the other hand, is all about delivering an incomplete product and then fixing and improving it over time. But you can't do that with a physical product. For smartphones there is no such thing as beta. You either get it right at launch or you don't. It's as simple as that.
Another question is how Google's Android partners will react to a Google phone? As my colleague JR Raphael pointed out last month, Google has worked hard to convince manufacturers to embrace the Android platform. Changing roles from Android facilitator to Android competitor, could hamper those efforts.