Well, that’s a disappointment. There’s no GPhone, just a GMobileOS with a seriously robotic name. And even that’s mainly a PR play at this point. We won’t see any phones running Android until the second half of 2008.
But despite the vaporous aspect of these discussions, it’s fun to imagine a GPhone future — especially because the openness of the platform could mean an abundance of applications. What might a GPhone need to be useful for a web worker? Well, pretty much the same applications any smartphone needs, if it’s going to be used to get work done:
1. Application launcher. Maybe the operating system will come with a good one, but if it doesn’t, you may need to add a third-party interface that makes it really easy to get at your favorite applications.
2. Email. Now that Gmail has IMAP it should be easy to check your corporate email using the mobile Java-based version of Gmail. So this is a freebie, but one the mobile web worker shouldn’t be without.
3. Personal information manager. A good PIM manages calendar events, to do lists, contacts, and reminders. Gmail plus Google Calendar give you contacts, events, and reminders, but doesn’t include to do lists, so there’s room for a fully-featured, fully-integrated Android app.
4. Office applications. Google Docs & Spreadsheets or Zoho or ThinkFree or what-have-you, so long as you can view and edit what you need to (which may include Microsoft Office, PDF, and OpenOffice.org files).
5. Instant messaging. With access to multiple IM networks, of course.
6. VoIP. If you’re connected to a wifi network or cellular broadband and you have Skype or Gizmo or some other VoIP capability, you don’t have to use your cell minutes. Plus you can make low-cost international calls that way.
7. Multimedia player. Videos and music aren’t just for relaxation and recreation. You’ll need something like the VLC media player that supports multiple audio and video formats as well as streaming.
8. Google Maps. When do you get lost? When you’re on the road. Ideally, integrated with GPS (some manufacturers are now building that into their chipsets).
9. Speech-to-text mobile note taking. For capturing ideas and to-dos while driving.
10. Time and expense tracking. So you don’t forget what those receipts written in Japanese from your trip to Tokyo were for. And so you don’t charge your clients for time you spent playing games instead of working.
11. An addictive game. It’s important to take a break from your work and give your mind a rest. Blackberry users love Brickbreaker, but how about Tetris or even Scrabble?
What applications would you want on a GPhone?