Rumors of a mobile phone from Google are coming at an increasing pace, although whether this suggests that “Google is making a real push to launch something early next year and is no longer trying to keep everyone quiet” as TechCrunch posits or merely a change of direction for the normal rumor-mongers is something I’m not willing to put money on. However, the rumors are logical, and it’s expected that Google will do something with mobiles beyond simply putting its services on there individually.
Engadget notes that Google bought mobile software company Android in 2005, and the team from there “has developed a Linux-based mobile device OS (no surprise) which they’re currently shopping around to handset makers and carriers on the premise of providing a flexible, customizable system—with really great Google integration, of course”. This indicates that Google is looking to supply a platform, which would see it compete with Symbian and Windows Mobile.
CrunchGear reports (based on an insider tip) that HTC is working with Google to launch a Google Phone in the first quarter of 2008. “Google is currently assessing over twenty HTC models and refining its final handset design and will create a special version of Google Maps, compatible with built-in GPS, and compatibility with Gmail and the calendar app. There is also some talk that Samsung will be releasing gPhone handsets as well, but that has not been confirmed...One extremely interesting point? Google Talk will become a part of the phone, adding VoIP capability to the hardware.” This last bit isn’t very surprising—I’m betting on any Google handset to have WiFi access, and/or to work on any spectrum that Google may win in the upcoming auction in the US.
Meanwhile, Rizzn has reported (based on an anonymous Google insider) that “the Google (applications) Suite is going to play a huge role in the usability of the GPhone...This is my analysis based on what he told me: It’ll probably be sold at a loss or sold as a loss leader to increase ad-monetized content viewing. Just a guess though”. It does raise the point of the tension between operators, content providers and platform providers over who will get the lion’s share of ad/content revenue.
As TechCrunch points out, if the Google Phone launches there’s an odds-on chance people will start looking to Yahoo…