Did you think that Taiwanese handset designer HTC would be the only smartphone partner in Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) pocket? Think again.

The Nexus One kicked off Google's telephony ambitions with a customary launch party. Figuring prominently on that stage was Motorola (NYSE:MOT) CEO Sanjay Jha, smiling and supporting a supposed competitor's device launch. Now we know why he was smiling: The Nexus Two may likely be a Motorola phone, a design very similar to Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) flagship Droid.

The Motorola-made Nexus Two remains a rumor today, based on surreptitious snapshots and screenshots of the device that could very well be Photoshopped fakes. However, it makes too much sense to be idle gossip, and if the Nexus Two isn't a Motorola phone, then the third or fourth version certainly could be.

And Google has plenty of other hardware partners who could fill out the rest of the Nexus handset line -- if Google intends to stick with the Nexus name, that is. The usual suspects include electronics behemoths like Samsung and LG as well as more specialized gadgeteers such as GPS expert Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN).

Google does not want to sell "one Google Phone to rule them all," but wants to provide consumers with a choice of handsets developed by others under the Google brand. It's exactly the opposite of the strategy seen at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), where AT&T (NYSE:T) is still the exclusive iPhone carrier after nearly three years, and Apple outsources the manufacturing while designing and developing the phone in-house. 

The iPhone is a narrowly defined and tightly controlled product, while Google and its many partners are flooding the market with a variety of brands, looks, feels, and design choices.

Of course, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) already tried to take over the smartphone market with its Windows Mobile platform, but when was the last time you saw a breathlessly excited press release about that, or anxious consumers lining up for hours over the launch of a new Windows Mobile phone? The Android could eventually end up in the same bargain bins as your average Windows phone -- but even then, Google has already achieved much of the mobile adoption it wanted with Android.

Any way you slice it, Google wins. Motorola is just coming along for the ride.

Who do you want to see making official Google phones? (No, I don't think Apple would do it.) Ruminate at will in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.