In a Wall Street Journal article printed last Thursday, it was revealed that Google is in the midst of an extensive development cycle for a new mobile phone and is currently in the market for operators in the US and Europe to support the phone. Such a phone would not only support most standard Google features, but VoIP and other software applications as well.Another report from Anian, a derivative of Reuters, also announced that the smartphone is being developed on a Linux operated platform and will be partnered with T-Mobile in the U.S. and the French Company, Orange, in Europe, with a prospective 2008 launch.
However, Google has apparently also been courting AT&T and Verizon to sell phones with Google’s mobile services preinstalled.The main issue for many mobile companies though is Google’s revenue sharing demands, something many providers are not keen on. However, as it stands T-Mobile, Vodafone and AT&T all use Google search services to some degree. It is only a matter of what degree Google is seeking to alter the status quo.
As for the phone, Google has not made any announcements and of course refuses to comment on the stories, but has stated in the past that the wireless market is important and a field in which they plan to expand into. They have created a handful of prototypes and have talked with numerous companies including LG about specifications for the new mobile phone.
It is still unknown though whether Google will aim to release a single, iPhone-style smartphone to tackle the market. The reports are largely based on the technical developments Google is making that would allow for them to cash in on the expanding Mobile ad market, expected to be worth almost $2.2 billion by 2010.
All of the speculation will likely be cleared up by the end of the year if Google does in fact intend on releasing their own mobile phone in 2008. However, the real interest lies in how exactly Google will implement their phone plans. If it is in fact an original design crafted by Google, in the famous Google Labs, the obvious question is how many Google features will be implemented?
It’s likely a move that will allow Google to offer full integration of their services, something the mobile companies have long since been unwilling to allow. By building their own prototypes, Google can ensure that kind of control. The most interesting aspect though is the possibility of advanced features such as VoIP, with Google’s M.O. always revolving around innovation. While Apple bent to the pressure from AT&T and the weak data network on which it was released, the Google Phone could almost assuredly be expected to include some form or another of VoIP support, whether through Google Talk, the newly purchased Grand Central, or another revolutionary feature specially constructed by Google.
These are all rumors of course; something Google is very good at creating and circulating. However, even if there is no Google phone in development and Google is simply trying to scare the mobile companies into cooperating with them, it is likely that eventually we will see advanced Google features on cellular phones, including VoIP. The prospect of mobile ad revenue is such that offering free phone calls in exchange for listening to or watching a couple of ads would be a realistic inclusion very soon.