LG announced it will pre-install Google mobile apps, including Maps and Gmail, on milions of LG phones starting in 2Q 2007. The phones will be sold in North America, Europe and Asia.
This is Google’s second partnership with a handset maker this year; the search giant partnered with Samsung in January. Google also has several partnerships with carriers. The LG deal follows a similar deal LG made with Yahoo earlier this year.
Google now has partnerships with four of the top five handset makers excluding the No. 1 company, Nokia, which controls 35 percent of the market. The next four companies, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG, comprise 46 percent of the market.
Google has been focusing more and more on mobile deals in the last year and half. Yesterday Google launched a new version of its Google mobile homepage. In January, Google partnered with Samsung to provide several apps to Samsung’s mobile phones.
Last year, Google launched mobile AdWords, live traffic data on mobile maps, and a mobile version of Gmail, to name a few projects. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has also stated that Google is interested in providing mobile apps that help carriers sell data plans, and that mobile phones themselves should be free if a user accepts targeted advertising.
Google was recently rumored to be developing its own mobile phone called “Switch,” though executives have said the company is not in the business of building hardware.
A Google Phone would ostensibly compete with at least some of the handset makers that Google is currently partnered with.