The Gphone is coming; how Google could rewrite the rules

Note: Gphone concept sketches by Lorin Wood.

gphone concept a edit

If done right, the Gphone and not the iPhone will be the one to change the face of the wireless industry.

Apple’s iPhone, at least in its initial release, has not upended the wireless industry, particularly in the United States, as much as hoped. The iPhone certainly has pushed the cell phone envelope a bit further, and it hints at what’s to come, but so far the iPhone is still playing by the rules.

See also: Video: GPhone Android demonstration

Google, if it enters the fray as expected with its so-called Gphone, may truly rewrite the rules. What it plans to do is an ongoing topic of discussion and speculation on the Internet, not unlike Apple’s plans for the iPhone before its release at the end of June. The Gphone may be announced as early as next week and may debut as early as the first quarter of 2008. The anticipation will be as fervent as it was for the iPhone, without the Steve Jobs showmanship.

Why Google? Why A Phone?

gphone concept c editGoogle is positioning itself for the future. It’s conquered search on the Internet, revolutionized advertising with AdSense, and opened the door for the development and acceptance of Web applications like Gmail and Gcal. At the same time Google is leading a media renaissance with the acquisitions of YouTube, Blogger, Picasa.

Google could sit tight and count its pennies, not unlike what Microsoft did during its heyday, or it could push forward, beyond the desktop and into the mobile world, where content and information are meeting voice communication and the cell phone.

It’s a natural fit. Google takes what it has pioneered on the desktop and through the browser and applies it to mobile lifestyles, providing a seamless transition for people on the go. At the same time it opens up new opportunities for search and advertising, expanding the “Googleverse” (and bottom line) even more.

Unlike Apple, which positioned itself as hardware-focused and consumer-friendly with the iPhone, Google is diving much deeper into the world of telecommunications and many wonder if it plans to become a wireless carrier just like Verizon or AT&T. Google has been lobbying the U.S. government for changes in wireless policy. While it did not achieve as much as it wanted in the planning for the upcoming 700 Mhz spectrum auction in January, it did push for the fact that consumers in the U.S. can buy any phone and use it on any carrier in the future.

Google is also expected to bid on the spectrum, pledging upwards of $5 billion in an auction that may net the government between $10 billion and $12 billion. What Google plans to do with the spectrum, and how it might fit in with Gphone plans, is the focus of media and Internet speculation.

See also: Why Google should have developed its own Gphone

So what will be Gphone be?

If done right, the Gphone will change the wireless industry, at least in the U.S. If not done right, the Gphone will be just another cell phone with some advanced features. Here’s what it might look like, if done right:

Tech Specs

Operating System

gphone concept dThe big rumor is that Google is working on its own operating system, which would make sense if Google is to tie all of its applications and properties together in a cell phone. Back in 2005, Google purchased the mobile software company Android, started by Danger cofounder and former president Andy Rubin. The Android/Google team supposedly has developed a Linux-based mobile OS, which one expects will integrate tightly with Google’s interests to provide a satisfying user experience.

Radio Communications

To be truly carrier agnostic and international, the Google phone will have to support CDMA and GSM standards. Could these be built into the same phone or will there be several models available for the different carriers? Come to think of it, if Google is successful in its bid for some of the 700 Mhz spectrum, what will it do with it and how will it affect the Google phone?

The Google phone most certainly will support Wi-Fi and most likely 3G for wireless data transfers. Apple has come under fire for not supporting 3G immediately in the iPhone, although this is expected to change with the phone’s next release. The use of 3G also will make the Google phone attractive internationally.

Google’s Gtalk is a VoIP service, allowing people to hold phone conversations over the Internet. Many are hoping and praying that the Google phone will support Internet telephony, either through Gtalk or maybe even Skype.

The Physical Phone

Display

While larger-screen cell phones have been around for many years, the release of the iPhone has drawn attention to an elegant, crisp display that measures a generous 3 inches by 2 inches, eclipsing all cell displays to date. With the amount of data expected to be accessed on a Google phone, it would be stupid not to include a large quality display.

Input

gphone with keyboardPeople are split on the subject of input. Should the Google phone have a touch screen interface like the iPhone, should it have a tiny QWERTY keyboard like a BlackBerry, should it have a stylus/touch interface like a PDA, or should it have a slide-out keyboard found on newer cell phone models?

No matter which direction Google goes, somebody will be unhappy. What Google should keep in mind is this: make input as easy and enjoyable for the user as possible. Remember: People will be interacting with the Google phone in many ways, accessing and using a large amount of data, and creating content, so crummy input will severely impair the device.

The Fun Stuff

The iPhone sports a 2 megapixel camera. Google should at least match this, or maybe go one better if it’s feasible cost-wise. One way Google could differentiate its camera from others is not through megapixels but through image stabilization, which is now found on many point-and-shoot cameras and high-end lenses for digital cameras. Camera shake is prevalent in cell phone cameras — especially, it seems, on the iPhone — and including IS would do wonders to minimize shaky, soft, and slightly blurry images.

Video cameras on cell phones are nice to have, and are becoming more relevant in the era of YouTube. But cell phone video cameras suck. The “film” is grainy and its hard to do anything with the content other than watch it on the phone. A cell phone that could shoot 640 x 480 video, in an acceptable standard (like H.264), and allow people to do something with the content (email, download to a computer, upload to YouTube) would usher in a new wave of mobile content development.

Finally, the Google phone must include GPS, which is another complaint of the iPhone. The iPhone uses Google Maps, a nice-to-have application that falls short of being truly useful without GPS capabilities. Imagine GPS on the Google phone: Addresses in Gmail or in Gcal are automatically mapped and plotted for real-time travel. Another benefit of using GPS is the coming of location-based services and proximity-based notifications.

There’s been very little speculation about the Google phone having a built in MP3 music player and video-playback features like the iPhone and iPod. Music playback is not unlikely, and one can be certain that YouTube will be built into the phone. Whether it can play other video is uncertain.

Design

gphone designIt’s doubtful Google itself will design the phone. Google is expected to use overseas OEMs like HTC or maybe farm design to handset manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, or Danger, freeing Google to work with HTC on the manufacturing.

Google’s track record — as seen through its Web application development — is no thrills and minimalist. Expect the phone to be innovative and full of promise but not nearly as pretty and awe-inspiring as the iPhone.

Applications

There’s no doubt that Google will showcase its suite of applications and properties: its many varieties of Search, Gmail, Gcal, Gtalk, Gchat, Documents and Spreadsheets (part of the so-called Goffice), Google Groups, Google Notebook, Google Maps (and maybe even Google Earth), YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, and so on.

But let’s hope that Google doesn’t go all “Googlely” on us. In other words, promote the “Googleverse” as much as possible but leave the Gphone platform open for third party developers, something that the iPhone lacks. If someone wants to use AOL’s Instant Messenger or Yahoo Chat instead of or in addition to Gchat, let them download and install applications so the phone truly fits their needs.

Google needs to be smart. It has an opportunity here to redefine the relationship between a mobile device, applications, and the customer experience. For the most part, mobile applications today are just extensions of desktop programs. Google should take the opportunity to rethink and tweak its applications to work well in mobile and desktop settings. For example:

gphone gmailGmail and Gcal, as previously noted, can integrate more closely with Google Maps when people are mobile.

Docs could be integrated with Blogger, so when users are mobile and are using Docs they can update easily their blogs without having to use a separate program.

The digital camera application, Picasa, should not only upload photos directly to Picasa but also be flexible enough to upload to non-Google properties such as flickr. Picasa might also provide a few rudimentary editing and image manipulation tools.

The digital video camera application, whatever it may be called, should also upload directly to Google’s YouTube and maybe even supply rudimentary editing tools as well.

By the way, editing — cutting and pasting on a cell phone — should be as easy as possible because people will be moving information between all sorts of Google applications, including Google Groups and Google Notebook. Cutting and pasting is currently not available on the iPhone.

Being Social

To be truly revolutionary, the Google phone should play nice with the other kids, especially in a social setting. Not everybody is using Google’s social network, Dodgeball; in fact, many people use more than one social network — MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, Twitter — and these should be available on the Gphone through third party developers. Google is rumored to be working on a social aggregator as well, which could certainly work on the phone.

Advertising

gphone adsIt’s the giant smelly monster sitting in the middle of the room. If there’s going to be a Google phone, and it looks like that’s a distinct possibility, expect advertising along the lines of AdSense and the recently introduced “ticker ads” Google is now placing on certain YouTube videos.

Mobile advertising revenue is another billion-dollar cash cow for Google. Some people could care less if there is advertising on the phone, as long as their monthly bill and the cost of the phone are cheaper than they are today. Some people hate advertising and swear that if there are ads on their phone they will not use Google. They’d rather pay higher prices for the phone and their service.

It’s doubtful, but perhaps Google comes out with two flavors: one with advertising, lowering initial purchase costs and monthly bills, and one that has no advertising but costs more to purchase and has higher monthly fees.

Verdict

So what if Google doesn’t deliver the right Gphone? What if it has only some of the features and functions discussed above? The Gphone could still revolutionize the wireless industry, but not by itself.

What if Google and Apple are in cahoots? Google’s Eric Schmidt already sits on Apple’s board of directors. And there’s cozy integration between Google and Apple in the iPhone, AppleTV, and in iLife ‘08. Could Google and Apple — two outsiders — take on the wireless industry and change it? We’ll find out, as soon as Google delivers the Gphone.

Concept Credit: The Gphone concepts were contributed by Lorin Wood, a previsualization designer who specializes in concepts and ideation for Hollywood. His portfolio and art direction can be found at his Web site (he also maintains a blog). Wood’s concepts for last100 explored how Google applications, and its advertising, might look like on the Gphone.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

133 Responses to “The Gphone is coming; how Google could rewrite the rules”

  1. The screen should be 4.3″ with no border around it–out-iPhone the iPhone. They should just use Sprint’s 3G network, and buy airtime wholesale from them and resell it as they like. Nice mockups, by the way

  2. Alex Iskold says:

    I have to bet on Apple if this happens. I have hard time seeing this phone beating iPhone.

    Alex

  3. Tony says:

    I have to agree with Alex. Google is damn good at what they do but Apple is the master of interfaces and the iPhone is going to be impossible to beat in the near future. Its just too good even without 3G and a real keyboard.

    Nonetheless, I’d still buy one b/c its Google. :)

  4. Budi S says:

    I hope the price for gphone not too expensive so i can buy it … :D

  5. Lee says:

    Google’s good at one thing…search. I wouldn’t count on them to replace the iPhone. Apple has a 20 year lead on OS and over 30 years in UI. I won’t buy Google stock for this phone. The iPhone is the best platform ever. Nothing come close. BTW, your unsubstantiated sources are pretty weak.

  6. David says:

    I would definatly like this over the iPhone. Unlike Apple Googles software is always compatable with everything, and i am sure they won’t restrict people to one network. Google applications are much more secure and stable the apple programs. (just look how fast the root password for the iPhone was found)

    Apple advocates can buy the iPhone, but i am pretty sure the rest of the world will turn to google. Just like what happened with web applications.

  7. Heath says:

    This article is full of speculation that does very little to impress me. The only way it competes obviosly is if it is affordable for the masses. Just wait until apple starts cranking out enhancements to its osx mobile (iphone) software.

    Posted via an iPhone (which is awesome)

  8. j s says:

    I’ll be getting one. Google is going to rule the world some day. t(^.^t)

  9. JiPé says:

    Nice article.

  10. Jill Jurty says:

    Are you crazy? “…and opened the door for the development and acceptance of Web applications like Gmail…”

    Gmail opened the door for the acceptance of web apps? I think every big internet player had webmail before google did.

  11. David C says:

    Someone needs to challenge the big telcos instead of just join them like Apple did. I like the iPhone but joining AT&T should have never happened!

  12. Max says:

    I would have to agree with Lee’s first point. Google has been overwhelmingly praised because of their success, but really apart from Google search, and AdSense, they really have not created anything themselves that has spawned a renaissance. Gmail – somewhat popular, but in a company this size should do better – Yahoo has Google beat here. They bough YouTube, and Google Docs isn’t up to scratch in comparison to Zoho suites. I would also agree – it will take time to match Apple’s design. Maybe with time, but not today.

    My main thought is – Google’s phone will not be a smash hit – yet.

    Max … Out!
    http://www.cmyos.com – free online operating system

  13. Michael ONeill says:

    “The iPhone is the best platform ever”

    Uh no. Criteria for the “best platform ever” would include ease to develop on. The iphone absolutely FAILS at this. No business is going to adopt a phone you have to hack to get custom apps on. Business aside, for a personal phone, there is no way in hell I’d pay 600 bucks for a phone without an extensive app library out there. I see this a the Achilles heel of the iphone and something Google will certainly attack.

  14. Baiju.k.b says:

    really very interesting topic you presented and that too in very skillful way…i was waiting for iPhone now mind has been changed, staying for Gphone…:)

  15. Lee Chin says:

    Being techno-geek, I’ll prefer gPhone over Apple’s iPhone. Some of the features gPhone will include, aside from email, is online Calendar. This mean my colleagues and associates that uses gPhone can book meetings with me via gPhone. The gPay provides cashless transaction, paid via gPhone carrier, for vending machines and online shops. Here in Singapore, gPay will interface with Nets, so I can pay my tax, top-up my farecard, pay my bills, do online banking, and do all my money transactions on my gPhone.

  16. Abhishek says:

    Daniel,

    Great post! This is the most comprehensive analysis I have seen in quite sometime.

    I agree that they will have to support both GSM and CDMA (with no network locking like iPhone) in order to truly be open. However with the HTC partnership I think they will deploy with Sprint I wouldnt be surprised if they launched a WiMax device as well.

    Here are some more of my thoughts:
    http://abhishek.tiwari.com/2007/08/29/are-you-ready-for-the-google-phone/

  17. FRANK says:

    Screw the iphone, gphone is gonna kill apple

  18. anona says:

    Booooring. You really are pretty naive. Have you ever designed a hw/sw product commercially? Does cost analysis mean anything to you, as opposed to a wish list?

  19. Kyle Floyd says:

    Those mockups were not something I’d want to buy. Lets hope google strays away from the GigantoPhone.

  20. Vanessa Kay says:

    Shit, I’m going to screw the iPhone and wait for this, looking slick already. Currently I use a blackberry which is pretty good for what I normally do. I might just stick with my blackberry, I don’t know. If you can make calls through google talk through the phone’s dataconnection then its worth buying.

  21. eBooksBay says:

    It will be very very interessting to see how Google can change the Phone market.

    http://ebooksbay.org

  22. I hope the price for gphone not too expensive so i can buy it, Does cost analysis mean anything to you, as opposed to a wish list?
    Thanks…

  23. mymac says:

    From India Rediff assures that the new gPhone, or gPhoone will be launch, in 1 week, across the US and Europe.
    http://www.mymac.cc/?cat=60

  24. Grubber says:

    Well its all speculation and the reason Google would make a phone is to make money and up market share (in advertising). However if they are to get into hardware I would bet there main goals will all be about eyeballs (location specific AdWords and video ads) not hardware sales, why they would build there own phone i don’t know, maybe its about market share for there apps but I would assume network provider would bite there hands off to be able to google intergration alll over there phones?

  25. Alan Brown says:

    So, a phone that supports wi-fi, 3g, GSM, big screen, VOIP, MP3, Youtube, better than 2 MP camera, video with image stabilization and 640 by 480. Oh and GPS. One of those would be frickin awesome.

    Oh wait, I have one. A Nokia n95.

  26. Google’s social network is called Orkut, not Dodgeball. Google did buy Dodgeball, but it is basically defunct now. Jeez, get your facts right!

  27. jdbradford says:

    Come on – it isn’t difficult – the iPhone has been designed to appeal to particular sector of the market – do we really think that Google are going to target the same people.

    By way of example, it seems that Google are talking to telcos in India … now (no disrespect intended) – how many iPhones do you think Steve Jobs has earmarked to be sold in this market?

    This is about democratising the internet for everyday use for everyone … remember google’s mission statement …

    “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

    note the last statement … make it universally accessible

    think of google as toyota and apple as bmw … they’re just different

  28. Jonas says:

    Actually, I don’t think it will be a phone…

    I think it will do email, surfing, searching (of course), IM, maps, gps (maybe), and some “Office” functionality.

    All these are based on TEXT. And this is what Google is interested in. It’s hard to analyze what people are talking about in a phone conversation and put that in their enormous database. Text on the other hand is easy.

  29. s says:

    EVDO, MUST HAVE EVDO!!!! pref. vzw…

  30. Karl Sander says:

    640×480 Video in H.264 and on-phone youtube upload.
    I carry this around in my pocket at this point.
    A Nokia N93. And I think nokia has some other phones with that specs that are more consumer friendly than mine (3 cm thick!!).

    I also heard of the LG youtube phone to be released very soon with that same specs. So, may not be that revolutionary.

    I’d still buy a gphone

  31. Zach says:

    I’m not so sure… What if the ‘gPhone’ were to run on a physical iPhone? Who is better placed in the market to place a device in everyone’s hands than Google and Apple?

    They have been working together very closely of late… what if this is the next step?
    http://zachbeauvais.com/node/34

    Regards

  32. John says:

    Daniel,

    Nicely laid out concept. I would buy one of these phones if Google offered them. I would not mind the advertisements if they were unobtrusive (like they are in Gmail), especially if it would make the phone bill lower.

    Google makes some really good applications. I love Gmail, Reader, and Docs. I use them all of the time. It’s great having everything online so that I can get to it (as long as I have a connection).

  33. Josh says:

    This is a cool phone, I think this phone will killa the iphone. I really like the iphone but its missing alot of basic features, for example: mms, gps etc.

    I wonder how mush the gphone might cost

  34. Dave says:

    I agree with Zach. Google and Apple are in bed already, whats to say the gPhone won’t be very similar to the iPhone, and running OSX mobile? If theres advertising on the phone, Google has a constant source of income. I’m sure in that case they wouldn’t mind kicking back a portion of the initial sale to Apple.

  35. Berneck says:

    I think Apple screwed up by using an exclusive provider, namely AT&T. I think they are getting a little greedy by getting money through exclusive rights. If they really wanted to turn the industry upside down, they should have made it available to any and all providers. By being locked to AT&T, there is no incentive for competition. AT&T can charge whatever they want, because they know they got you.

    It’s still a game changing phone. It’s just going to take a lot longer to be realized. It’s still the best gadget I have EVER owned, and I have owned a lot of them.

  36. Paul Li says:

    Garbage!

    What Google is going to do is not already done by Apple and others? NONE!

    With regard to carrier agnostic, it is not up to Google to decide. Remember, wireless networks are still closed. Without cooperations from carriers, no device can work in ANY network! If Google’s strategy is indeed to bypass carrier control, the gPhone is dead before it ever appears.

  37. The Hero Of Canton says:

    The article makes no mention of how this might also tie into Google’s acquisition of Grand Central. Those sneaky monkeys over at the Googleplex are definitely up to something. Can’t wait to find out.

  38. Gopinath M says:

    Only assumptions, no concrete information. Waste reading the article

  39. Steve O'Hear (editor) says:

    @ Gopinath. I think that was the point, a speculative look at where the Gphone could take us. Also a kind of wish-list too. I enjoyed it :)

  40. sebastian says:

    google’s patience is wise. first see how apple screws up what they screw up and then make things better. besides apple lovers can’t be told that the overpriced nice looking thing is not what good user experience could be, it is just another nice-enough.

  41. Big Brother says:

    Here is a great site which summarizes all of the latest Google Phone rumours:

    http://gphone.corank.com

  42. Graham says:

    Google leading a media renaissance? I don’t think so. At best, they are buying it. Google is using a lot of money to buy into new opportunities, it’s not creating them from within. And chances are the spectrum, fiber and wireless, is a stand-off weapon against the carriers.

    As for supporting CDMA – CDMA is a minority standard, there’s no real reason to support it whatsoever. Very few people support it, and it’s not a global phone. I’d bet that Google would simply create a 700 MHz GSM standard and support it in the phone so the phone could be universal in the US, just like GSM is everywhere else in the world.

  43. Gr says:

    The Android/Google team supposedly has developed a Linux-based mobile OS, which one expects will integrate tightly with Google’s interests to provide a satisfying user experience.

    Ok, so when Google writes an OS and integrates it tightly with their own applications, it is a “satisfying user experience”, but when Microsoft does it, it’s evil and anti-competitive? I am no Microsoft fan, but that is too much of a double standard. Google should not get a free pass.

  44. Liquidboy says:

    Google is strong. They have a will, money, and a strong backbone.

    Whether or not they choose to build their own hardware or outsource it or acquire another company to do it is any body’s guess. However ,it will get done and it will be user-tested. Ever notice the rate of Beta that Google does?

    The OS and software will be strong. Also note that Google has been a recent front-runner in the push for Open-Source. This would make the Gphone a true custom phone and would make iphone users and geeks totally envious.

    As mentioned before the acquisition of GrandCentral has only made Google one step further in their domination of the communication industry. One number One Voicemail Box. Call record on-the-fly and uploaded to the internet. Visual Voicemail. Ringback tones for each caller. Sounds familiar? They’re also going to need the hardware to run it on.

    Internet, Telephony, and Wireless go hand-in-hand they would be stupid not to take on this important step in the future of I-net 2.0… however let’s see if they can get through the red-tape.

    Oh to be a Gphone Beta Tester ;)

  45. J says:

    It’s hilarious that there’s still this gPhone rumor years after it first came out. Notice how every concept of a gPhone is based on an iPhone. There is almost no reason at all for Google to get involved with making a phone. They are so closely tied to Apple that it makes any thought of a phone stupid for both companies – why compete and lose alot of profits when you can make more together? It’s obvious that Apple is wooing Google because of all of the product related and free advertising they’re giving to googlemaps and youtube.
    And on to a more practical side of things, you have to look at who owns certain patents. Apple has the multi-touch interface patent and several other ones that would severely hamper any effort by Google. And there’s no point. Apple is obviously interested in giving Google anything they want as far as software goes, and Google is a software company that would disappoint everyone and themselves most of all if they came out with a sub-par product. Remember, the iPhone has been worked on for years and it has a while more to go before it has all of the things originally intended.
    Get real sources for this instead of speculation – the India source was discredited weeks ago, which is when that “1 week from now” is quoted as being said.
    Until Google has that chunk of wireless spectrum in hand, there’s absolutely zero chance of any Gphone – and even then its just more likely that Apple will break the contract with AT&T to go with Google.

  46. Google Buddy says:

    I’m always amazed at how everyong thinks Google can do no wrong. Yes, they totally own the online advertising and search engine market. So how does that expertise translate into making the next generation phone? Sure, with all the money they are making, they can hire all the best engineers, designers and marketing people.

    Google has all sorts of projects going on, but none have produced any real success outside of their core expertise. And by success, I mean make profits. They have lots of great products, like Googe Earth, but they are being subsidized by their ad revenue. I’m not saying they can’t do it, but lets not crown them the king until we see it.

    Visit http://www.newlifeauctions.com to learn how to start an eBay business.

  47. Robuka Kenderle says:

    How much would the gPhone affect the Openmoko?

    Will they lose developers who feel that G is open enough?
    I love the idea of an easily modded phone (no, easier even than the Apple phone).

  48. Spell says:

    I definitely agree with J.Honestly,I would agree Google is a great company but it just won’t work.Google has defined itself as an advertising power house.They make lots of money,very good!But when it comes to understanding the user;I don’t think they do a good job.That’s what the consumer product industry is about and they have no experience in that respect.Apple thrives on it.
    I strongly believe anything that comes after the iPhone would be a knock-off.The iPhone is the first to run a scaled down version of a powerful operating system.User interactivity is awesome.The first to have a real computer html browser and not wap or “something”.It simply runs desktop class applications.It has features that make you wonder “what will the iPhone 2.0 be like”.I believe Google should try to tie up more of it’s application to Apple.They did a good job on the Google maps interface,I believe they can do more.
    Though the tie-in with only one carrier is disgusting,let’s not forget that the iPhone is a risk.Steve Jobs isn’t even sure how it will play out in the end and that’s why they have a ridiculous goal of one percent.They think partnering with the largest network might save them from a myraid of losses if the iPhone doesn’t work as planned.
    On the other hand Google is great.Let’s be factual.If Google is going to outsource a part of the phone like Daniel said, that will be the beginning of the end for the Gphone..These other guys have been doing this in the industry in a long time and they’ve failed to capture what we would like,and Google going to them would be like serving sushi in sand.I read somewhere else how the Gphone could outplay Apple’s.I don’t think it’s feasible.
    On one hand you have a CEO obsessed with the user’s experience and design,on the other hand you have a CEO that knows adverts and just worked on the java platform briefly.Google should be thinking of launching a GPS kind of device that improves the Google maps potential and not a phone.Owning a communications spectrum just won’t cut it.
    I told someone once that Google was releasing a phone and he said “It would be the iPhone cut in half”.Apple will bring much more improvements to the iPhone.If they did all that on the first version,there would be no need for another series.Think the ipod.

  49. fnl says:

    Interesting thoughts, although it looks like Google advocacy. Being European, I still have to wait to get my own iPhone, which might not happen soon, even if it were available: the missing 3G on the iPhone is a huge minus, as WLAN isn’t ubiquitous where I live (Madrid!). I’d prefer they kick the gimmicks and put more useful stuff – I’d not hesitate a second to buy a phone with 3G, GPS, GMaps all on a large screen. On the other hand, I will always have trouble to see the point of paying for a miserable camera I would never want to use… Anyway, I won’t be waiting for a gPhone – despite your nice article, I think Google has other plans with that band purchase than providing a phone for it: think, Google is all about data, not software or hardware!

  50. Jason says:

    It’s interesting to note that the CEO of Google is also on the board of Apple. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when Eric dropped this bome shell during the Apple board meeting.

  51. Sunil Joseph says:

    gPhone will have GPS, and it will be in a big way. Just check out cities in India and china that have been mapped. Unlike US UK and other developed countries, GPS is almost unknown in the developing countries. The maps that are available usually is not to scale, and it is very rare to find an online version. But in the last few months Google has mapped most of the cities in India with accurate street names, hospitals, schools, places of interest etc etc. I had mentioned that in my blog post. http://sunilkjoseph.blogspot.com/2007/08/gphone-ggps-and-gmaps.html

  52. Ryan Hough says:

    Ok well people on here how can you seriously think the Iphone is good the screen is dying after not that much use and yes it has some good features but a phone that beats it in nearly every area? Nokia N95 the Iphone beats it on style and has a bigger screen but thats about it, Also when your drunk i would love to see you fail at using your touch screen :)

  53. maya says:

    no sources, baseless rumors, random guesses… this article sounds like the author’s personal fantasy about google’s phone

  54. Aaron Rocha says:

    you know how you can set picture ID for your contacts?

    the Gphone should have you set picture ID for yourself, so when you call the other person sees your picture, kind of like a buddy icon.

    MY IDEA

  55. JJ Walker says:

    Make the OS open so anyone can make interfaces and apps… You’d have tens of thousands of free devlopers instantly working on the most innovative product ever…for free.

  56. JJ Walker says:

    Ummm…did I say “free”? ;)

  57. A really nice writeup. It will be interesting to see if the vision you articulate of a pretty well integrated product comes to fruition, or if we get an open platform with a few seed apps (Gmail, Google Maps, Gtalk) and a bet that the development community will evolve the platform beyond that base foundation. My own thoughts on what I think would be a solid Gphone offering are here.

  58. pwb says:

    The above is not very compelling and I have little confidence in Google being able to produce a total customer experience as exceptional as Apple has done with the iPhone.

  59. Max says:

    has no one noticed how incredibly similar the layout of the ‘Gphone’ is to that of iPhone. Calling it Gphone too is…hilarious. People seriously, the one thing that this hoax lacks is being announced on april the first.

  60. E. David Zotter says:

    The OS is likely to be java based…..and I doubt they are as far along as everyone believes.
    The rumors circulating inside and outside the company are…just that….rumors.

    Kind regards,
    E. David Zotter

  61. Alxf says:

    Since it’s from Google, will it be given ‘free’? as in we only pay for the network? (hidden costs not considered)

  62. Yuva says:

    GPHONE is NOT mobile device.. but mobile OS. Yes Google is entire mobile operation system market not device market.

  63. I’m not sure if google could beat iphone, I mean, google is known as search engine, the internet world, while iphone from the very start deals with gadgets and computers

  64. tommy lam says:

    I believe gPhone is not positioning to be a powerful PDA phone. Instead it should be a tool to reverse the way how “Searching” is being done and it may try to pave the way to make data actively searches us (base on some preferences and user behavior learned by the phone), thus, it can deliver us useful information through its “advertising” feature instead of streaming us garbage data.

    Data is useful information only when the receiver really interested in it, right? :)

  65. TechTown, nc says:

    I have a hard time believing that the device’s hardware will stand out in any way. Google, as opposed to Apple, is not motivated by making money on each device. Google is looking to break even on the hardware and make money delivering ads, whereas Apple has more motivation to push the hardware envelope. I think the main effect of this will be to establish Google’s mobile aps as the standard others must live up to, and it will push other cell manufacturers to use Google’s mobile software. Not a bad strategy since Google’s margins on ads will always be higher than Apple’s margins on an iPhone.

  66. lmjabreu says:

    Nice text, but you didn’t talk about data storage/sync/expansion. Coming from HTC and having in mind the usage of the device this thing may(must) have HSDPA(please).

    The concepts are nothing special, either too iPhonish or Hollywoodish.

    lol: http://stats.wordpress.com/g.gif

  67. derek says:

    A few weeks ago someone created the Twitter microblogging platform to run on the iPhone. You could also now listen to a message sent as a tweet.

    These passed largely unheralded, as thousands of apps are created every day that massup devices and content platform. However, phoning to and from a blog? and one that can send back voice?

    IM, email, www, mobile are already plugged into microblogging. With voice, you have a true merger of publishing and communications: see http://derek.abdinor.co.za/2007/08/18/microblogging-its-getting-hot/.
    Google should repurpose Blogger or create a skunk works around these technologies. One device, anyone?

  68. Miraj K says:

    if you are interested in an open/free wireless/mobile services ecosystem in Canada, USA and beyond, join : http://sfu.facebook.com/bireless/mogroup.php?gid=2511111870

  69. kenny.d says:

    Are you kidding me? Look at the design of Google products (Orkut, Picasa, Reader) and then honestly tell me you think they’re going to come up with something that will one-up the iPhone. Come’on.

  70. Kevin says:

    I vote for Google. They have done so well on all their web apps that they are bound to have an amazing product. I bet it’ll be cheaper than the iphone (shiver) as well.

    Kevin

    PS: I HATE apple!!!!!!!!!

  71. 800hightech says:

    I do digg Apple, but I can easily see Google coming up with something truly amazing if they put their mind to it. Compatibility and openness is the key, if someone really comes up with a revolutionary phone that has all the features mentioned, it should be OpenSource, free to install new codes, add-ons or applications.

  72. Felix says:

    Apple’s recent moves are the biggest clue to me that a gPhone launch is imminent. The price cut this week was likely Jobs’ attempt to preempt Google, to lock-in users who might otherwise be tempted by a hot new gadget over the iPhone, if it existed.

    Also, I believe Apple announced over the summer that they would open up their platform to outside developers, a move designed to capture mind-share amongst software engineers and companies, since it’s likely that Google would welcome outside development on its gPhone platform.

    Google’s strategy is similar to Microsoft’s failed attempt to create a mobile OS that could be used by multiple hardware vendors. Google would own the software piece, and issue minimum specifications for the phone platform (much as M$ does for the PC platform). Hardware vendors would be free to develop devices that meet the specifications, and to compete with each other on added features and price. Google would certify hardware as being gPhone compliant, and provide a software development infrastructure for outside developers.

    The gPhone prototype is not so much a prototype as a reference standard for the hardware companies. The genius is that there could be differences in form factor and input methods in the devices that the gPhone manufacturers produce, so MOST users would find something they like.

  73. ben allen says:

    Wonderfully detailed post. Thanks! I personally think that the LBS search opportunity is under emphasized in terms of the potential opportunity here. The future growth behind search means searching for more than files on a webserver somewhere, it means searching for and finding stuff right around you in the real world, which is why mobile handsets are such an important new area of growth… I posted some thoughts on it at http://locationbusiness.blogspot.com/2007/08/atoms-bits-how-location-awareness-will.html

  74. Felix says:

    It is a wonderfull Information from Google. Thanks for Providing this spectacular Information. I thought that Google will give a OS on Desktop PCs, but introducing OS in Module!!!!!!!!!!! Wonderfull. Expecting a new on launch.

  75. Thomas says:

    GOOGLE rocks! If the Gphone comes out in 08 the world will change for the better.
    Go Google!

  76. cj says:

    wwwwwooooooooooooooooooooo g phone oh yeeeehhhhh need i say more

  77. Would the people accept free phone calls for google adwords?

  78. derek says:

    hmmm, Yesterday sees Google buy Jaiku, a microblogging platform that loses to Twitter on the web but wins on the mobile platform.

    Jaiku on GPhone? of course!

  79. roberto says:

    Is its true, will be great to see some competition on apple , their prices are just over the board.
    Competition is a great thing , and the winner is always the customer

  80. Dinoningoning says:

    Really interesting… I’m waiting for your gphone to reach our islands… we are pretty updated with cell phones.. in fact there are few who has the iphone… and 2 of the others are complaining on their batteries… keep that in mind with the gphone… good luck!

  81. janos says:

    I don’t know leh…
    maybe real loh….
    >.

  82. It would need a great speaker phone and ability to work with ANY carrier.

  83. pootus says:

    I like the concept, it makes sense with the way internet apps, social networking, web 2.0, etc, the trend certainly seems to be heading the directions you suggest google maybe going. Now the question is can they pull it off. Will be interesting to see if it happens.

  84. Rick says:

    windriver (WIND) has said they have won a Market Maker as a customer? is that the gphone win?

  85. christian says:

    hey i think if this gphone is gona be sponsored by verizon is gonna be the best thing this people can invent and i don’t really like the black precentation they are thining of on the gphone,, something funny I WAS ACTUALLY GONNA GET THE IPHONE(wich suucks) AND TODAY I WAS AT THE APPLE ATORE IN SOHO, SO I ASKED ONE OF THE ATTENDENTS IF IT WAS OK TO MAKE A CALL AND HE SAID NO PROBLEM, SO A DILED AND EVERYTHING AND MY CALLED DROP TWO TIMES I TOLD THE GUY THAT THE SERVICE WAS BAD AND HE DID’T ANSWERED,,, MORAL NEXT TIME U THOIK ABOUT GETTING THE IPHONE THINK ABOUT THE SERVICE AT&T REALLY SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!! GPHONE GO FOR IT

  86. Kelly says:

    Wow.Im getting the gPhone
    i was playing with my dads iPhone and i called my friend and the call dropped 30 seconds into the conversation.Omg and the iPhones key bored is the worst thing ever. Cant wait till the gPhone comes out

  87. Anton says:

    I’d buy it. When it will be available in ukraine?

  88. pitoflo says:

    i like it it looks nice i will be on top of this phone

  89. Futureman says:

    Google is have a foresee eyes and ablity to create a better way of life for people. This knids of company is the one that who can impove the world.

  90. techie says:

    I wish Gphone will have display OLED 4.3 inches from CEMEI, and be developed by HTC, it should be the perfect phone for future.

  91. David Weston says:

    Since 1992, I have had an AgendA organiser, with a Microwriting one-handed high speed typing keypad. It is simple to use, and would take up very little space on a phone. If Google, or anyone else, could incorporate a Microwriting keypad into their new phones-cum-organisers, it would really liberate millions from the outdated QWERTY keyboard.
    Any firms interested should take a look at . BTW, I have no financial interest in Bellaire, but am totally supportive of the system.

  92. David Weston says:

    Your reply system left out the web address of the source of information about Microwriting, that I had put in. It is http://www.bellaire.co.uk

  93. Kurt says:

    I’ve got the iphone. This thing is damn close to perfect. They fell very short of a couple things that made it rather disappointing. Tell google to give me a ring and I’ll tell them how to build the perfect phone. Build it exactly the same and change what apple screwed up. Use the Iphone interface, active sync/MS office compatible, iphone maps with GPS!!!, faster network, third party apps. STANDARD HEADPHONE JACK!!!!!! (that would make this thing perfect.)

  94. John Bessa says:

    Absolutely nothing new here.

    All these little companies with their start-up CEOs are being hobbled together by the hugest, and hence most autistic, organization in information today, as part of a plan to privatize much of the remaining free, or public domain, bandwidth to pay what is truly the most autistic organization since the Roman empire, the US government, which from what we can tell will spend it for just a few days of war in Iran.

    What is so old here to me is your myopia. What is bizarre to me is that once again, RMS is right on the money.

  95. Saman says:

    I was about to buy an iPhone, but will wait to have the GPhone. Hurry up.
    Saman

  96. john says:

    The next generation of the iPhone will improve its sales.

  97. AMG says:

    Most of you are downright pathetic…. the “gphone” is nothing more than vaporware. Google is not going to produce a handset, they are going to try (and I do mean try) to sell this software to other handset manufacturers. This gphone will be nothing like any of you are hoping for… the handsets will be made by all of the established players and most of it’s possible features will be crippled first by the manufacturers and then by the service providers… especially a provider like Verizon.

    Google hasn’t revolutionized anything… they made search better, that’s about it. What makes the iPhone as good as it is, is it’s vertical integration… there will be none of this with your “gphone.”

    The fact remains that Google wants to be the next M$… do any of you really want that? The only kink in the chain for their plans of world domination is that they are a one hit wonder – plain and simple.

    You all need to get a life.

  98. Darren says:

    The gPhone will be a great addition to the mobile market as it offers developers, especially Indie developers, the chance to create software games / applications using the free to use ‘Android SDK’.

    I will be purchasing one as I am an Indie mobile game developer and working with this phone will open alot of doors in terms of creativity and profitability.

    Apple’s iPhone looks very impressive, but from a development point of view the gPhone is the clear winner.

  99. jj says:

    The artist’s conception here of the gphone looks cool. It is very similar to the iphone. For me the big screen is nice because I want to be able to watch more music videos and movies on the phone and not have to haul around a couple of different devices. I have considered the Voyager but I don’t like the bulky qwerty keypad and would prefer to use a touch screen. At any rate it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

  100. the internet connection can be anywhere in the world? says:

    Can i use the I-phone or G-phone all over the world and i would have internet connection.

    im looking for one network for all over the world, do those phones supply this requirement?

  101. Jamie says:

    I notice the iPhone enthusiasts are STILL fooled by marketing discourse and deceitful, meaningless rhetoric. The iPhone was NOT the first mobile device with a full HTML web browser as one idiot has claimed above. I suspect the consumerist twits that have bought the hype have little or no prior experience with smartphones or PDAs.

  102. Smileylaughter says:

    As far as the input goes, I think google should combine the touch screen, the keyboard, and the stylus too. Like it could be a touch screen, but also include a stylus, and then have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard too. That would be so cool!!!!!! google rocks!!!

  103. chobee says:

    i heard that the gphone will cost u $900 for the first release..

  104. Praveen says:

    Me too definitely agree with spell

  105. Maarek says:

    I bet it will beat the iphone because it’ll implement something better than the MAC OS. Having their own OS rather than the providers is a GREAT enhancement since there’s no SDK for regular phones, only what the provider offers. So having something that’s practially OpenSource on a competitor phone is a great bargan.

  106. thats actually incredible but funny as well
    Nokia is doing something on similar lines bringing add ons with its service and changing the face of its new phone to touchscreen and google is entering into the market as well
    http://www.reviewsaurus.com/web-applications-reviews/inventions-change-tech-world-2008-2/

  107. Joe says:

    iPhone can be jailbreak and this becomes sort of fun to deal with plus there are lots of applications available. No GPS, who cares…Ianyway, ‘m not going to put my phone in my car as GPS and exposed to sun all day long when I drive

  108. paul fry says:

    im going to buy both tehy are both great!

  109. ryguy says:

    I must add that the market population for any product (device, OS or whatever Google may be developing) in the area of communications primarily uses a computer…duh. If this product is unable to be paired with and not excluding the PC, Mac, and linux box, then you are limiting the functionality and ease of integration into people’s lives.

    On another note, it seems like we’re approaching ideas for complete, all in one, total control devices that we will not be able to function without. Perhaps it’s just some minor paranoia, but that sounds somewhat Orwellian to me…

  110. OMKAR says:

    I am a fan of both Google and Apple.. I was really excited when iPhone was introduced with its set of new concepts for a mobile phone. If Google has to get over it, even it should get a new concept over iPhone rather than enhancing iPhone. Let apple do the iPhone better and I know Google is capable of inventing a completely new generation mobile device. I guess they must be working on this and may surprise me again any time…

    I would like to have a tough time selecting between re-invented iPhone and invented GPhone…

  111. DunDun says:

    HTC touch Way better no contest

  112. Geof D says:

    Needs a storage capacity worth purchasing the damned phone for.

    The Iphone is supposedly something that “does it all” with such a minimal data transfer / storage capacity that I would rather just keep my Ipod / flash drive / cell phone on me and not be happy with all of the separate possibilities I get by having more than one way of multi connectivity despite the inconvenience.

    its a piece of crap and people are paying ridiculous prices for obsolete hardware… I mean be sensible people, the most obvious ways to make this a good product are to pay attention to
    A it has to be fast
    B Data input cant be annoying
    C You pay for what you get ($ vs Hardware)
    D How does it play with other devices
    E Is it practical?
    F battery life
    G features and usefulness
    H Why is this product better than every other product out there.
    I Do the people out there really need another version of a device with more features to buy

    its the alphabet of questions that need to be asked before anything is created, and in my opinion mac failed to ask these questions when producing the Iphone… thats the reason why it wasn’t the primo device of the decade, and the reason why it is failing miserably.

  113. Kendall Johnson says:

    This seems like another wasted attempt to be an iphone killer. Google has 2 problems that will be their downfall.
    1. They are a search engine and have little to no experience in the OS industry (i.e. they have no tried and tested platform to run their os).
    2. They are going to be their own provider. That right there is just a dusty trail. If someone has problems with their service (which they will, being a brand new service) they will associate the service with the product. It is better to let a provider take the heat and you the glory (at&t sucks, apple glorious).
    I don’t see any way that this will revolutionize the cell phone industry, and now that apple is allowing the common user to design, produce, and use their own programs with SDK the gPhone and it’s copycat technologies won’t last long.
    Does anyone else smell a wiff Zune in the air?

  114. smalltalk says:

    I want to have a gphone. if ok, your company can give me a free phone. I tested for you.
    thanks

  115. iqueen says:

    Phone will replace PC one day, Android(Linux) will replace Windows one day, Microsoft is also on his phone project now, i think.

  116. Jan says:

    Check out the german gPhone Blog.
    http://www.gPhone-Blog.eu

  117. st says:

    I love Google products.
    And I hate Apple, I hate their computers, I hate their mp3 players, I almost hate their phone.
    So I definatelly buy a Google phone even if it will be overpriced and if it will work in Europe.

  118. Michelle says:

    I would buy this phone in a heart beat. I hope it is on the best network T-Mobile with the best price on service and a good phone they would be unbeatable.

  119. peace loving hippee freak says:

    Wow this phone looks amazing!!!!!!!!! But ……….. I really wish that they would come out a little sooner!!!!!!!!!!

  120. Chris says:

    Hello,
    the gphone is coming and i have found a german description about the
    a href=”http://www.mobilefacts.de/276-google-handy-neue-iphone-konkurrenz-namens-gphone/”>Google Handy

    Greetz Chris

  121. julia says:

    This will be great! What they need to do different from the iphone is make the keyboard similar to that of the sidekick. The touch screen keyboard on the iphone makes it very difficult to type quickly without making errors. That is the biggest flaw in the iphone. Those of us to prefer to text or always texting find it hard to use.

  122. Bobby_J says:

    Well what can I say, alot of people are going on about how much the apps are going to cost commercially, well that’s the thing with Android, its FOSS (Free Open Source Software)

    What will this mean to the average Joe Public?

    As the source code is completely open source, anybody and i mean anybody can write an app for the Gphone for FREE, give it to the friends for FREE.

    Now there will be some companies that have invested time and money into developing apps for the Gphone, and yes they can charge for them, that is their choice, but as with the nature of ALL GNU/linux (which android is) for every 1 commercially available app, there will be half a dozen or more free (and sometimes better) apps that will do exactly the same thing.

    Now I could rant on about GNU/Linux etc but I wont……

    Back to the topic in hand.

    The video footage of ACTUAL phones running Android completely obliterate anything I have seen the I-phone do. (Several of my friends have the I-phone but are now looking at changing)

    The apps will take a to become fully available, this is a new OS, I know alot of people are working on the SDK (Software Development Kit) for Android so people are creating the apps, and if you cant find the app to do what you want, get the SDK (its FREE) and try and create the app to do what you want, once you have created (or attempted) there is NO risk to your phone as you run it virtually 1st to test, what more could you ask for.

    In my opinion the thing that is really going to dictate if the G-phone takes of or not will be the price, I Google want the phone to out to the mass markets and be available to everyone then they will need to ensure it doesn’t come with the £350 sim free price tag that the the latest phones usually have attached.

    I have seen reports that the US market will be getting the phone for roughly $100 / £50 lets see what price they try and sell it to the UK market for.

    Time will tell

  123. Makenzie says:

    This phone is the bomb!! I want it so bad!! When it comes out I might have to check into it.

  124. Gio says:

    I think that the Gphone will be the best thing to hit anywhere! The little things that i have heard about it thus far gives me high hopes of a phone that truely will have everything u need, especially for a buisness person :)

  125. web says:

    Oh God Yes I want this, all hail Google our new overlords

  126. MESFIN SINE says:

    i am ready to buy it .

  127. khalid says:

    i looking forward to this fone pls keep us updated

  128. MR9872 says:

    I found an artical on IntoMobile.com about the new Google phone. The artical mentions the new Google phone would feature a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and would be designed by Samsung.

  129. a guy who got an iphone says:

    i like apple’s products-Macbook,ipod touch and iphone,that are AMAZING design on both usage and interface.
    but just one thing should be mentioned here.
    it’s battery…actually my ipod touch is nearly useless after 1 year,coz it got problem in charging,every 2 hours i’m charging it just turn out to be 5 minutes playing.
    so i hope apple can develop its products with battery with replacement,that’s all.
    i don’t like the poor google

  130. terrance says:

    lets just say the g phone is just to damn good it got a built in navagating system in it :D