Google is in talks with British mobile carrier Orange to develop a co-branded mobile phone, according to the UK’s Observer.
The handset would probably carry both Google and Orange’s logo, would contain Google software that would “dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the Web from a mobile handset.” The partnership is not finalized, and were a phone developed it would not be on the market until 2008.
Google has relationships with several mobile carriers, including Sprint, Motorola and Verizon, the latter of which recently agreed to provide YouTube clips via their VCast service.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said during the company’s Q2 earnings call that Google would increasingly focus on the mobile marketplace this year. More recently, Schmidt surmised that mobile phones and data plans should be free if the phone’s user accepts targeted advertising.
Google has launched several mobile products, including a java-powered Gmail application and live traffic maps, and the company is testing mobile AdWords in eight countries.