Google Phone Rumours
Recent comments by Google Iberia's CEO,
Isabel Aguilera, indicate that the search engine giant
is working on its own mobile phone. Spanish online journal
noticias.com published a brief article (in Spanish
indicating that Google engineers have been working (at
least to some extent) on a mobile device.
There is nothing certain about the specification
of any upcoming Google phone - and indeed there may
never be one, but it's an intriguing idea for many reasons.
At first glance you might think that
this type of idea is about branding. Like Apple, Google
is a highly prestigious name and you might think that
Google would be happy knocking together an iPhone
competitor, but we think that Google will take a significantly
More than just a search engine
Google is no stranger to mobile services.
Mobile is a neat front end to web browsing, searching
and Google Mail.. but it's a very limited approach.
Instead Google may well take the opportunity to come
up with a tightly integrated client/server arrangement
with any Google Phone which could knock the competition
into a cocked hat.
the vast majority of Google visitors use the search
engine only, Google is a major destination in its own
right with Gmail
/ Google Mail, Google
Maps / Maps
for Mobile, Google
Docs & Spreadsheets, Google
Video / YouTube,
Talk and dozens of other applications and tools.
Many of these applications would be ideal for use on
a mobile device, and indeed there are mobile versions
of most Google tools available.
Google can go one step further with
its own phone though. Instead of accessing Google services through
a web browser, Google could create a more sophisticated
arrangement where a software application on the handset
itself interacts with the Google server, allowing seamless
client/server integration with email, calendering and
other tools that you'd normally only expect to see on
an enterprise level device such as a corporate BlackBerry
solution. But because of the way Google works, this
level of sophistication could be available to everyone,
not just businesses. Push email via Gmail is another
possibility with this arrangement.
Enterprise level integration for the
more complex applications could work seamlessly. Users
could create a Google spreadsheet on their business
PC, work on it later on a mobile phone and then access
it again at home.. all without having to worry about
Powerful location-based solutions could
be created by adding a GPS module to the Google
Phone and use it alongside Google Maps.
What's more, Google could make this
work very easily "out of the box". Once a
user has given their authentication details to the Google
Phone then there's very little more that needs to be
done. All the phone data would be synchronised with
the Google server, so it could be easily accessible
from a desktop machine or even by another authorised
Giving enterprise style sophistication
with Mac style ease of use to the average customer is
something that other providers would struggle to compete
with, and crucially it would give a competitive advantage
to Google over the likes of arch-rivals Microsoft.
What might the Google Phone look like?
So far, we've talked about how Google
might make their application suite work with a phone,
rather than speculating about the device itself. Our
best bet is that any Google Phone would run a version
of Linux because that offers the level of sophistication
needed to run a complex application, and Google is already
quite used to dealing with that operating system.
Given that the handset is likely to
be a Linux smartphone, then Google would want to choose
a partner experienced in that field. Motorola is probably
the leading Linux proponent with handsets such as the
ROKR E6 and several other devices. Alternatively,
Samsung sell Linux-based smartphones in China and other
manufacturers such as Panasonic and NEC also compete
in this area. There are also several small startups
that Google could work with - or even buy outright.
device such as the Nokia
N800 or Nokia
770 (pictured) might seem ideal as it has a wide
screen and runs the Maemo Linux platform, but crucially
this platform does not support standard voice calls
yet. Although Maemo isn't a major business area for
Nokia, there could be a considerable advantage for both
Google and Nokia to develop a device of this type. But
this is just speculation (of course!).
With the right development, Google services
could be made to work seamlessly on a variety of handsets
including large format PDA-style smartphones and much
more compact traditional style business phones.
Of course, perhaps there will be nothing
at all.. but the possibility of a Google Phone is so
compelling that it would be a shame if it never happened.
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