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Summary:

The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on Google’s mobile phone efforts and how it is beginning to draw some interest from carriers, especially in the United States. Sprint (S) and Verizon (VZ) are in talks with Google (GOOG), according to the Journal, and an announcement […]

The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on Google’s mobile phone efforts and how it is beginning to draw some interest from carriers, especially in the United States. Sprint (S) and Verizon (VZ) are in talks with Google (GOOG), according to the Journal, and an announcement by the company is expected sometime in November. Here is what I have been able to gather from my sources:

* An announcement will likely be made Nov. 13th or Nov. 18th.
* Handset makers will use a Google Mobile OS platform.
* Google Mobile OS uses a highly optimized Mobile Linux; developers will be able to use a Java Development Kit. Google is said to have developed a highly optimized Java running on top of the OS. (Read our previous post, Five Facts about Google Phone.)
* Most major handset makers, with the exception of Nokia (NOK), have devices with Google Mobile OS under development; Samsung and Motorola (MOT) are being linked to it as well. (as are HTC and LG Electronics, according to the Journal.)
* The operators who are likely to be part of the big announcement will be T-Mobile’s USA division and Bharti Airtel, one of India’s largest cellular carriers.

The increased interest on the part of mobile carriers is summed up best by Hamid Akhavan, CEO of T-Mobile International and CTO of Deutsche Telecom (DT). In a chat with Russell Reynolds Associates he said:

These companies have recognized that it is not an easy game to penetrate the wireless market without the help of the operators, which has led to collaborative relationships…The biggest challenge is to adapt our market perspective and business model to one based on partnerships, content and applications. Historically, wireless carriers had a relatively simple business model — end-to-end voice service — with correspondingly simple billing. That is no longer the case.

Carriers are grappling with this question, and this business model conflict is something that needs to be resolved quickly by Google. Akhavan points out…

When AT&T and Apple partner on the iPhone or T-Mobile partners with Google on mobile advertising, these new arrangements force the question: “Who pays whom and when?” Billing, payment and content management for broadcast, advertising, search and music all are significantly different. Carriers are having to develop new business models that are compatible with the changing business models of the other key players in the ecosystem. The business models have to be as interoperable as the technologies.

After talking extensively to the mobile industry insiders, I believe Google Mobile OS is going to become part of the new mobile ecosystem. More on that later tonight, once I get a chance to sit and write.

Related Posts:

* Who’s afraid of Apple and Google? Not Symbian
* Five Facts about Google Phone
* Forget iPhone, think Google Phone

  1. for the end customer who has heard a lot about the iphone , this would be a welcome news.

    The google phone also makes sense for mature markets where a lot can be accomplished from a mobile. Further these markets have the infrastructure in place to allow mobile internet access – a must for google phone.

    Seeing airtel in the article does not make sense to me atleast. Even if google phone is launched in india by LG or whomever, how many people have GPRS or edge on their mobiles to enable them access these features? Further more how much of content is available for them to use say a road search or the like? also why would someone buy this phone in india? In US, such phones would be almost free with a contract.

    If google plans to be consumer friendly , then i would welcome the technology aspect behind this initiative.

    But if google wants to advertise on our phone at our cost and time, i would rather use my existing mobile – “no thank you google”

    Thanks to Om for the details in the post. It is interesting to watch technology updates.

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  2. Is Google Creating an MID?

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  3. To respond to Vivek’s comment, US is 3-4 years behind India in mobile technology. Mobile is being used for lot of things other than calling and texting in India. And in India people do buy a phone of 10000 – 20000 INR, unlike US Cutomers who keep on waiting for a free phone. Mobile banking is now a days very common.

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  4. I’ve no idea what this is all about.But i would appreciate just 12 of you americans checking out my fascinating postings before midnight GMT so that i can achieve my highest ever monthly visitor hits EVER!
    thank you america
    fpb
    http://www.pastapaulie.wordpress.com

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  5. Om,

    You may want to check out my analysis around the GPhone ecosystem:

    http://abhishek.tiwari.com/2007/10/21/gphone-if-i-built-it-part-1/
    http://abhishek.tiwari.com/2007/10/30/gphone-if-i-built-it-part-2/

    Would love to hear your opinion around how this initiative sits within other Google services.

    Abhishek

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  6. Second Amit’s comments. Indians are far more likely to spend real money (compared to their pay scales and living costs) than Americans for phones with great features.

    Also, ads are supposed to subsidize the cost of the phones and the data connections. This is another plus to encourage Indians.

    Finally, Google is very unlikely to present ads at the cost of acceptable user experience, let alone at the cost of user’s cash or time.

    When you think of a data-enabled smartphone, think of a tiny computer with an Internet connection in your hand every place go. There is no way such a device is limited to “say a road search or the like”!

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  7. Anyone willing to bet that the GPhone negotiations between Google and Verizon had something to do with why Verizon decided to backdown from the fight against openness on the 700 MHz spectrum?

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  8. @vivek:
    Not sure if u follow indian mobile market. Indian mobile market is faster in adapting to new wireless technology than USA. Way back, I was surprised to see indian operators talk about sms 2.0 and mobile TV, when operators here were just thinking about it.
    Google Phone make more sense in india from orkut angle. India has second largest user base on Orkut. Some kind of mobile and web convergence makes perfect sense.

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  9. [...] like Sprint has joined VZ and TMO in talks with Google regarding the Google phone. Om is reporting a Nov 13/18th announcement. My sources are also telling that product launch is [...]

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  10. Google Phone – vs. iPhone or vs. Windows Mobile?

    Google Phone — Gphone — will be a useful product, but will carriers have this phone because it’s useful? Or just because it’s good competition to the iPhone? Or perhaps another reason altogether?
    Google doesn’t make phones…

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