Google Phone: Build It and They Will Buy It

Survey respondents show more than a passing interest in phones branded by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

Say all of the speculation proved true and Google released its own branded phone. Would you buy it?

One hundred out of 500, or 20 percent, of people surveyed said they would be interested in purchasing a Google phone, according to results released Oct. 11 by The Kelsey Group.

Kelsey asked 500 current mobile phone users aged 18 or over in the United States whether or not they would buy Web-based mobile phones from Internet portal providers such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL.

These search portals see the mobile space as the next fertile ground on which to sell online advertising. Kelsey expects U.S. mobile search advertising revenues to grow from $33.2 million in 2007 to $1.4 billion in 2012.

Of the portals, Microsoft led the voters with 22 percent. Yahoo followed Google (20 percent) with 18 percent, and 10 percent of the respondents said they would buy a phone offered by AOL.

Companies that already offer Internet-driven phone services led the voting, with Verizon (38 percent), AT&T (36 percent) and even Apple (25 percent), whose iPhone is sold exclusively by AT&T, all grabbing the most votes.


Read more here about competition in the mobile advertising market.

But report author Matt Booth, senior vice president and program director of Interactive Local Media at The Kelsey Group, in Princeton, N.J., didnt expect the gap between the carriers and the Internet companies to be so small. Booth had been expecting the portals to garner about 10 percent of the votes each.

"I think whats really fascinating is that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are all neck and neck, so if they were to release phones, consumers would potentially buy it," Booth told eWEEK.

Booth said he thinks portal-branded phones interest users because of the potential for better search quality and online application offerings.

After all, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL are four of the top search destinations in the world, and each has been stockpiling software and services targeted for users of mobile Internet phones.

Google, which is widely expected to launch a mobile phone or at least a mobile software platform later this year, recently added two mobile social networking service providers to its arsenal: Zingku, which makes mobile invitations, and Jaiku, a provider of short messaging and presence technologies.


Read more here about the Google phone hoopla.

"People want a good Internet experience, and they look at the phones today and they dont have it, so theyre more interested in gravitating toward an Internet or technology company telephone because they think connectivity between devices and to the Internet is going to be much better on those phones," Booth said.

Booth added that 45 percent of U.S. mobile phone users surveyed say a mobile phone with better Internet capability will be a key factor in their next mobile phone purchase decision.

To that end, survey respondents ranked what theyd like most out of the mobile Web. Better connectivity to other devices led the voting with 54 percent, followed closely by improved ability to store and look at photos at 51 percent.

The ability to access the Internet more easily (45 percent), listen to music or other audio content (34 percent), play games (25 percent) and watch TV or Internet videos (20 percent) rounded out the feature scoring.


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