If it is possible to will something into existence, a fully integrated, entirely Google-branded phone geared to challenge Apple's phenomenally successful iPhone will hit the market in 2010.
Despite numerous protests that a phone created and sold by Google with the help of a third-party manufacturer would upset wireless carriers, Times Online reported Nov. 22 that Google in 2010 will launch an advanced smartphone with a larger-than-usual touch screen and a speedy Qualcomm processor that trumps the one powering the iPhone 3GS.
Moreover, the gadget will likely run the as-yet-unseen "Flan" version of Google's Android operating system and support Google Voice, the phone management service Google offers free that lets users ring their home, work and mobile numbers through a special Google number.
Google Voice features text messaging and several voice mailbox features and, integrated with its newly acquired Gizmo5 assets, could give Google Voice the endpoint connector it needs to patch calls through to Skype and other VOIP (voice over IP) services.
The triumvirate of Google Phone, Google Voice and Gizmo5 could give Google the total package to facilitate calls, potentially cutting Google's wireless partners, such as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, out of voice calling and text messaging data sales.
And if Google chose to sell the phone directly to customers and unlocked devices by letting users put the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards from their current handhelds into their Google phones, it could rob carriers of their power. Carriers neither want to be dumb pipes nor powerless.
The Times report cited financial analyst Ashok Kumar from Northeast Securities as a source. A Google spokesperson contacted by eWEEK declined to comment on "market rumor or speculation."
Analysts and phone experts eWEEK spoke to were divided on the matter. VOIP consultant Andy Abramson said if Google were to release its own phone with Google Voice it would democratize mobile calling.
"It's going to free you from the handset deal," Abramson said. "It's going to allow you to pick the carrier you like the best." He also outlined a scenario in which carriers might find a Google phone attractive.