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September 4, 2007

10 Questions and Answers About Google Phone

With so many speculations about a possible Google Phone, it's almost impossible to be just a rumor. Even if it didn't exist when rumors began to circulate, Google has certainly started to work on it. The visible side, the mobile applications, is impressive and grows at a high pace. But will Google Phone be more than just a collection of apps?

Here are some of the most interesting speculations about Google Phone, mostly containing information from "trusted sources". Apparently, Google develops a mobile OS and software, while trying to find one or more companies to manufacture the actual phones. Because there could be more than one Google Phone.

Who makes the Google Phone. Google made an interesting acquisition in 2005: Android, a company founded by Andy Rubin and Rich Miner.

"In what could be a key move in its nascent wireless strategy, Google has quietly acquired startup Android Inc., BusinessWeek Online has learned. The 22-month-old startup, based in Palo Alto, Calif., brings to Google a wealth of talent, including co-founder Andy Rubin, who previously started mobile-device maker Danger Inc. Android ( has operated under a cloak of secrecy, so little is known about its work. Rubin & Co. have sparingly described the outfit as making software for mobile phones, providing little more detail than that. One source familiar with the company says Android had at one point been working on a software operating system for cell phones." (my emphasis)

Where: found out where the research lab is located.

"Cambridge has a chocolate factory, and a Willy Wonka. The chocolate factory is Google's local research lab, located on the seventh floor of a Kendall Square office tower, and the resident Wonka is Rich Miner, a Google executive sometimes described as the company's vice president of wireless but officially a "technical staff member," according to a Google spokesman. The golden ticket is a chance to see a prototype of Google's new mobile phone, which Miner has shown to a handful of Boston entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, some of whom have signed nondisclosure agreements and some of whom haven't." (my emphasis)

What: Om Malik found some details about the OS from a reliable source.

"Google Phone is based on a mobile variant of Linux, and is able to run Java virtual machines. All applications that are supposed to run on the Google Phone are Java apps. The OS has ability to run multimedia files, including video clips. (...) There is a special browser which has pan-and-browse features that are common to modern browsers such as browsers for iPhone and Symbian phones. The entire browser is apparently written in Java. (...) Initially there was one prototype, but over past few months Google has the mobile OS running on 3-to-5 devices, most of them likely made by HTC, a mobile phone maker, and all have Qwerty apps."

What about the phone? Says the Wall Street Journal:

"The specifications Google has laid out for devices suggest that manufacturers include cameras for photo and video, and built-in Wi-Fi technology to access the Web at hot spots such as airports, coffee shops and hotels. It also is recommending that the phones be designed to work on carriers' fastest networks, known as 3G, to ensure that Web pages can be downloaded quickly. Google suggests the phones could include Global Positioning System technology that identifies where people are."

What Google software?

The answer is pretty obvious: "a special version of Google Maps, compatible with built-in GPS", Gmail, access to Google search. "Google Talk will become a part of the phone, adding VoIP capability to the hardware."

How will it look?

The photos available online are just some Photoshopped proof-of-concepts. There's no real photo of a Google Phone. "People who have seen Google's prototype devices say they aren't as revolutionary as the iPhone. One was likened to a slim Nokia Corp. phone with a keyboard that slides out. Another phone format presented by Google looked more like a Treo or a BlackBerry."

When: Business Standard claims it will be launched at the beginning of this month. Other sources say the launch is next year.

"Google, the nearly $13.5 billion search engine major, is believed to be a fortnight away from the worldwide launch of its much-awaited Google Phone (Gphone) and has started talks with service providers in India for an exclusive launch on one of their networks. (...) Sources close to the development said a simultaneous launch across the US and Europe is expected, and announcements would be sent to media firms in India and other parts of the world." (news from August 24)

Why: Mobile is a big part of Google's strategy (New York Times).

"The biggest growth areas are clearly going to be in the mobile space," Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, said when asked about new opportunities (...). In case his point wasn't clear, Mr. Schmidt drove it home: "Mobile, mobile, mobile."

Seriously, why? Google intends to be the leader in the mobile ads space. A good browser that renders the ads correctly could be helpful.

"What's interesting about the ads in the mobile phone is that they are twice as profitable or more than the non-mobile phone ads because they're more personal," said Mr. Schmidt.

How much will it cost? Many sources indicate it won't be too expensive and it may be subsidized by advertising. It's unlikely it will be free, at least for now:

"Schmidt said Saturday that as mobile phones become more like handheld computers and consumers spend as much as eight to 10 hours a day talking, texting and using the Web on these devices, advertising becomes a viable form of subsidy. "Your mobile phone should be free," Schmidt told Reuters. "It just makes sense that subsidies should increase" as advertising rises on mobile phones."


  1. what about grand central;? web based calling on a mobile phone? grand central is already very functional.

  2. Grandcentral links into Google Talk for an equivlent of skype In/Out, so any google talk system which can handle the voice link up can make call and recive calls from 'traditional' phone networks. All calls on the google phone would go via the google talk account, and those which used VoIP would be at discounted rates, ie any at a WiFi hotspot, and any to google talk users. Other calls would be charged at a near normal rate. The google phone would almost be built around a grandcentral/google talk link up.

  3. I do wish I could get a Grand Central account - this is where the key to doing Skype is.....

  4. Well either Google plans to do a lot more or this is gonna be a huge failure...

    A collection of web software is pointless unless you get free wifi all over the world. Will the Google Phone include an unlimited amount of Internet data communication with all worldwide providers, certainly not. it's not like the whole world's gonna be willing to pay a monthly fee to get a slow wap/edge internet access.

    In fact Google has better make use of Google gears in all those applications.

    Also I seriously doubt that it'd be just a Google-branded Linux Mobile OS. They simply HAVE to build software. That's would stupid to have a contact address book that
    1- had to be accessible via the internet to just send a SMS
    2-or a software would not synchronize to GMail contact list...

    My 2 cents

  5. A Grandcentral is a really good idea.

    More and more places are offering WiFi from coffee shops to hotels.

    I would like to see a touch screen display and Verizon to sell gphone along with its two year contract and plans!!

  6. I think Google gears could play into this as well. It's a bit of an old idea, but working with google apps offline, such as gmail, then either sending the email over you data connection or if you get near wi-fi. I think I like it.

  7. Speculating about the gPhone is great sport, right up there with the first ipod, the iMac and almost as good as the Segway. My guesses are: hardware by FIC (a distant 2nd is Foxconn) and a price of $199 USD. The software could be released very soon and runs on the Neo 1973 with a very simple install. No gPhone hardware until next year since there's been no FCC filings.

    My wish is that browser would support Gears. Just grab a web app and the bulk of the data over wi-fi and minor updates only over a non wi-fi connection. IMO big bonus for that.

    BTW, great blog and the best I've seen for Google watching.


  8. I can't see anything revolutionary in the iPhone and for sure gPhone will be tagged the same way.
    Perhaps the great minds of Google Tech will come up with some out-of-this-world design and ready to go softwares that will suit everyone.
    The key factor, in my point of view, is having a community supported software development like Symbian and Nokia itself.
    Google will plan ahead and one of the aspect we can expect to be gambled on is the memory capcaity jumping from 8Gb up. Also batteries will need upgrades as people will depend more and more on their devices. If not batteries, state-of-the-art charges.
    Ig gPhone happens, it will happen BIG TIME.

  9. Questions

    (1) How do I know if I have received an email?

    (2 Would I be able to set it up myself?

  10. totally exciting! New technology,bringing new advertising ideas on the table.

  11. hey dude, everyone is waiting for that mobile phone with too advanced technology

  12. Very nice information about Google phone. In fact Android phone is most awaited phone. Nowadyas, Tmobile and Tmobile G1 accessories are in great demand just due to Android. gives you more detail about G1 accessories.

  13. I just purchased a google phone through cellular south. I was very disappiopnted that the phone did not have a voice dial application and you can not sort your contacts by company? These two things forced me to return the phone after several days, even the iphone has these basic functions?
    Other than these two issues the phone has great potential.

    Thanks for your help,
    Jeff Morgan

  14. i just love google phone mate.. really love it.. but disappointed by the voice dial application really..


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