And the Google Phone

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2007-10-10 Print this article Print

Will Be..."> Just as skeptics have shot down the arrival of a Google mobile device, some doubt Google will attempt an open source operating system for mobile phones to rival Symbian and Windows Mobile. Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney, noting that phone code is some of the most difficult code to produce, argued that Google might be better off buying a mobile OS.
"Why not buy Palm, which they could buy for a pittance and use their Linux platform, which will take Google years to equal in terms of depth," Dulaney told eWEEK.
To be successful, Dulaney said Google must embed itself in many, many phone manufacturers devices and persuade prospective users about trading a lock-in with an operator for a lock-in with Google. Given the challenges, Enderle also refused to commit to the notion of a Google mobile OS but said the company would certainly provide mobile applications and, "with spectrum they could do some really interesting things towards their free cell phone vision." Ah, the spectrum issue. Against the backdrop of all of the hullabaloo and speculation lies one salient fact: Google has said it is interested in bidding on 700 MHz wireless spectrum in January. Such a move begs the question: why own spectrum unless the company is going to use it to support a mobile platform of some sort? Read more here about Googles bid for 700 MHz wireless spectrum. Weide would not deny the connection between spectrum and Googles mobile plans, but added that Googles $4.6 billion bid is more doubtful than Google releasing its own mobile phone. Weide argued that it is unlikely Google will bid to become another mobile carrier, joining Sprint, Vodafone, AT&T Wireless, Verizon and T-Mobile. "We believe Google doesnt have enough money to do it," Weide said, noting that Google would have to physically set up a network. He added that one rumor floating around has Google partnering with Apple on a mobile network. Enderle quashed that notion, noting that Apple has a horrid partnering history and Google and Apple are at opposite ends when it comes to how to generate revenue. Philosophical disagreements could be catastrophic for such a partnership. He added that Google has a lot of dark fiber and that, tied in with a mobile network, could suddenly pop up and scare a number of carriers right off the bat. The conclusion? "Whatever they do will sell," Dulaney said. "Operators, who are not real smart anyway, will put it on the deck just because they think Google is frightening. Only the consumer will tell us what they think." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.


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