Google schedules Android event for Jan. 5

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Apparently, Google CEO Eric Schmidt took some pages from the Apple playbook when he departed the company’s board earlier this year. On Tuesday, the search giant sent out invitations to members of the press for an event at Google’s Mountain View, CA campus on January 5th; All Things D has posted a copy of the invitation.

The event, which is focused around Google’s Android mobile platform, is invitation-only and will be comprised of a press conference and presentation, Q&A session, and demonstrations. (Plus, the lucky attendees get to snag themselves a delicious Google lunch.)

Of course, had Apple not pulled out of this year’s Macworld Expo, January 5th likely would have been the day of the company’s traditional keynote. However, in part spurred by Apple’s departure, Macworld Expo takes place this year in February.

As it is, Google’s event also falls just prior to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which beings on January 7th. As All Things D’s John Paczkowski points out, CES was famously upstaged by Jobs’s Macworld keynote in 2007, which saw the unveiling of the iPhone. (Believe me, as someone who was at CES 2007, it was the only thing anybody was talking about.) Google has a chance to preempt the entire consumer electronics industry in one fell swoop.

What exactly Google will announce at its event is already the subject of much discussion. The leading contender is an Android phone under the Google brand, dubbed the Nexus One. The question remains, however, exactly how the Nexus One will be differentiated from its predecessors, like the G1 and Motorola Droid—especially since reports and FCC filings seem to say that phone manufacturer HTC will be actually building the device.

Speculation mainly revolves, then, around the Nexus One’s business model, with rumors claiming it will be an unlocked phone sold directly to consumers, with the tacit support of T-Mobile. Such a move could conceivably open up the Nexus One to users not looking for a two-year contract, potentially even providing an Android-flavored answer to the iPod touch.

At least the Nexus One will provide a worthy distraction to divert pundits and professional speculators from their current incessant noise-making about the Apple tablet.

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