This Google phone thing

Nope. I am very doubtful they will bring out their own mobile.

They are certainly working on software applications for phones but they will almost definitely NOT make a hardware phone that will compete with the iPhone or any pricey phones. I’m sure they have loads and loads of concept phones that they’ve designed though. Eric Schmidt is on the Apple board so no Google phone will happen until that changes. As Pat Phelan keeps on pointing out, the vast majority of the world cannot afford the Jesus Phone or any clones of it. Most have simple, very simple mobiles.

In fact at the end of this year 50% of the world population will have a mobile phone but most of these will not be running Windows Mobile or the Symbian operating system. Google knows this well so I assume their innovations on the mobile side will be via simple and tiny software that can install on any phone or via specially designed gateways. The Western World will get their 3g connections and broadband speeds on their phones, so Google will be releasing software for this but they will also be working on applications that will use a tiny amount of resources on very basic phones if they are serious about accessing all the world’s information and not just the western world.

Google I’m sure will probably give away designs for cheapo mobiles, like they have done with power supply designs. Let others be hardware companies.

Areas I see innovation happening with Google and mobile will be:

  • Accessing your corporate network via a mobile gatway to the Google Search Appliance. The box you put on your network to index all the data on your intranet, will come with an option which will allow your staff to access data using their mobile phones. Either via a GPRS or 3G connection or possibly even via SMS. Summaries of the searches will be sent back with the option of downloading the document to your mobile, if you have the bandwidth.
  • Accessing your home computer using Google Desktop Search. Potentially a security nightmare and more of a fuss being made than the corporate edition but nonetheless, this has strong potential of being release.
  • Integrating both of these into a search option on phones so it will search your computer, Intranet and the web you get back results as well as ads tailored for the mobile.
  • With the above, I’d expect Google to buy (5 billion ads in 18 months) AdMob or else build out their own improved version.
  • Take the last few points above, I can forsee the possibility of a potential deal with mobile operators to provide a free web connection (not data) in exchange for a revenue share with Google. Google could even offer to connect direct to the mobile networks and look after all the external bandwidth costs. Click to call will be offered too. Shame their WiFi in San Fran is shit.
  • Expect them to do a deal with the up and coming Wifi phone companies to have Google apps on these phones. Revenue shares or direct subsidies could very well happen.
  • FON. They’re supporting FON for a reason you know. As WiFi phones take off, they’ll do another deal like the mobile deal above with FON for revenue share and pay for the bandwidth.

7 Responses to “This Google phone thing”

  1. Sean says:

    Nice points there Damien, certainly got me thinking. You think FON would offer free wi-fi to phones via google?

  2. I agree with you. It wouldn’t make any sense to go straighti nto competition with the iPhone this close after it’s release. But give the hype a while to calm down, I don’t think the sales of iPhones will be as good as predicted and Google may learn a thing or two. Then they’ll release it.

  3. Evert says:

    It’s like with most things in business; you can offer super-dooper, do everything services that will only work on new (expensive) devices ort platforms or you can offer a good, stable (but still disruptive/innovative) service that will work on a type of device already owned and used by millions of people. This also applies to the whole WiFi/Wimax debate.
    The logic is obvious….


  4. Paul Browne says:

    In fact at the end of this year 50% of the world population will have a mobile phone but most of these will not be running Windows Mobile

    Good reminder. I’d expect Google to do what the’ve done in the HTML / Ajax area: push the boundaries for the people that have the advanced gadgets, while still providing a basic service for those that don’t.

  5. Funny, I think they may well release a phone actually. Not to compete with apple but to compete with the operators. I think the next big battle will be between the major Internet Cos and the mobile operators – Google doesn’t want to share all the lolly with the greedy wireless telcos, and I think we might see them trying to offer free/freemium ad-supported mobile services.

    Certainly recent moves in the US suggest that mobile is extremely important to Google, and I cant see the current walled model of the operators being defensible forever.

    As for positioning of a Google phone? I imagine it would be low end (read cheap for the masses) but allowing Internet access. That’s what they’re interested in.

    All IMHO of course.


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