Google 'Nexus One' Phone Set for Invitation-Only Launch on January 5th?

The hype is continuing to build around Google's highly-anticipated Android-based phone, dubbed the "Nexus One". Engadget today reveals draft specs for the forthcoming device, as well as information that it is scheduled to launch on January 5th and will initially be available only by "invitation".

Our tipster doesn't have information on how those invites are going to be determined, other than the fact that it's Google doing the inviting -- if we had to guess, current registered developers are a strong possibility -- but the good news, we suppose, is that T-Mobile will apparently sell the phone directly at some to-be-determined point in the future.

The Nexus One reportedly offers a similar 3.7-inch, high-resolution OLED screen to that found in the Motorola Droid, as well as a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with flash and the Android 2.1 operating system. Onboard storage is pegged at 512 MB of flash and 512 MB of RAM, and the device supports microSD cards with a 4 GB card included.

Gizmodo was able to get a brief hands-on experience with the Nexus One, finding it "long and silky and natural" with a "damn good" screen, even better than that of the Droid. The Nexus One was also found to be snappier than the iPhone and Droid in loading Web pages. But rather than comparing the overall Nexus One to the iPhone 3GS, Gizmodo chooses to pit it against the Droid, noting that "it's still an Android phone".

If Google's planning on releasing this phone as their official Google phone, it'll certify them as the premium Android phone brand out there right now. Even though it doesn't have a hardware keyboard, it basically beats the hell out of the Droid in every single task that we threw at it.