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Your Google Phone Is Coming, Sorta, Next Year, Journal Says

By - October 30, 2007

From the Journal:

Google Inc. is close to unveiling its long-planned strategy to shake up the wireless market, people familiar with the matter say. The Web giant’s ambitious goal: to make applications and services as accessible on cellphones as they are on the Internet.

In a move likely to kick off an intense debate about the future shape of the cellphone industry, Google wants to make it easier for cellphone customers to get a variety of extra services on their phones — from maps to social-networking features to video-sharing. To get its way, however, the search giant will have to overcome resistance from wireless carriers and deal with potentially thorny security and privacy issues.

What I want to know is this: Will I be locked into certain software apps on my Google phone – or can I treat it with the same indifference I do with the PC Internet? In other words, will I be able to wipe the Google apps off, and use other apps if I choose to? Or is this going to be a distribution play for Google’s apps?

A clue is here in the article:

The Google-powered phones are expected to wrap together several Google applications — among them, its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail email — that have already made their way onto some mobile devices. The most radical element of the plan, though, is Google’s push to make the phones’ software “open” right down to the operating system, the layer that controls applications and interacts with the hardware. That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features.

But that still doesn’t tell me if I can use the phone as a blank slate, so to speak, or if I have to use Google software.

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5 thoughts on “Your Google Phone Is Coming, Sorta, Next Year, Journal Says

  1. Braz says:

    Boring question, Battelle. A totally blank ‘formatted’ phone is not Google’s responsibility, but the phone’s manufacturer. You know light years better then me that Google will NOT build a locked Apple-style phone, but install some applications by default.

    Why there’s no complains about the software already pre-installed in the others cell phones around the world? Nokia came with pre-installed software, as Motorola does, as any other phone manufacturer does. As any notebook or palmtop.

    Your question sounds like a pedant slashdotter, if not infantile.

  2. JG says:

    A totally blank ‘formatted’ phone is not Google’s responsibility, but the phone’s manufacturer.

    Not completely true. It is Google’s responsibility if Google is the company creating the OS that bridges the phone manufacturer’s hardware with the application-layer software.

    Or are you somehow claiming, Braz, that it is Intel’s responsibility when Microsoft bundles IE with Windows?

  3. Kamal Jain says:

    John, from your descriptions it looks like it is a software plus service model through a medium which does not yet have any expectation of net neutrality. It has many more implications than you or I (definitely I) know.

  4. Rodrigo says:

    In fact: if the product is called “Google Phone”, It is Google’s responsibility!

  5. Hiroko says:

    If it turns out to be an open source phone OS, this is huge–it’s not aimed at the iPhone (which a lot of the press assumes), it’s aimed at Windows Mobile, Symbian, BREW, and the lock that carriers put on handset applications. Google’s already on record with the FCC saying “consumers should be able to run whatever they want on their phones”, so it sure seems likely that they won’t lock users into only Google apps. I guess we’ll have to wait for real info, not just leaks and press speculation.