In the near future, mobile phones should be free if the user accepts targeted advertising, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said this weekend.
“Your mobile phone should be free,” Schmidt told Reuters. “It just makes sense that subsidies should increase” as advertising rises on mobile phones. *
Schmidt’s comments imply that Google sees a high adoption rate for mobile Internet access with a concommittant drop in handset prices. The average price for a handset in the United States has fallen 30 percent in the last year, according to PriceGrabber.com. And in some markets, consumers are adopting mobile Internet access faster than PC-based access.
Google is working on several mobile initiatives this year, including text-based advertising on cell phones, a Java-powered Gmail app, traffic maps and geolocation.
*p.s. Psst! Google Watch’s mobile phone is already free, but don’t tell Mr. Schmidt.