Why the Google Phone Could Dampen Android Phone Sales

Consumers interested in buying phones based on the Android open source operating system may feel some hesitation with the emerging rumors of a Google phone. Such a phone would likely provide a more fully integrated user experience, similar to Apple's iPhone. Ultimately, this could hurt sales of the Motorola Droid, HTC Eris and other Android devices based on hardware from manufacturers and software from Google and application developers. EWEEK looks at the buyer's dilemma here.

News Analysis: Many of you by now have read about the rumored Google phone, that Google Android operating system-based and Google-branded smartphone to beat other Android smartphones, and maybe even Apple's iPhone.

TechCrunch and other blogs are seemingly trying to will the device, or at least some sort of VOIP device, into existence.

I don't claim to have new information about said Google phone. I'll have to wait and see like everyone else, though it is fun to write about. Unfortunately, the wait and see could hurt other Android phone makers. I'm speaking on a personal level here.

I've long been interested in buying an Android phone and recently tested both the Motorola Droid and the HTC Eris from Verizon Wireless. I liked both, but am partial to the Droid. I was all set to buy one, but now I'm not so sure. Blame the Google Phone rumors and the sound logic of BroadPoint AmTech analyst Mark McKechnie.

In this report I covered last week, McKechnie said a Google smartphone made by one vendor would be preferable to current Android devices such as the Droid, Eris or myTouch 3G.

Why is that? Well, McKechnie eschews the so-called "kludge" model of current devices that plunk, say, Android's operating system and applications on hardware from Motorola or HTC for integrated phones such as the iPhone, or the Palm Pre or RIM Blackberry gadgets: "We much prefer the seamless integration style of Apple," McKechnie wrote.

As a consumer hungry for more information to help me make a purchasing decision, I extended that logic to the Google Phone, which is supposed to be an integrated device in the iPhone vein. McKechnie wrote:

"A key aspect of the iPhone's ability to provide a great user experience is the integration between the hardware and the software running on the device. While all of the Android devices currently on the market offer some level of integration with Google services (mostly search, maps, etc.), we believe GOOG envisions a much tighter level of integration with all of its current as well as upcoming services for mobile computing."

After reading that why as a consumer would I want to buy a Droid when Google could be developing a device that would be Google's definitive answer to the iPhone?