Google Phone Might Use Wi-Fi?

    March 22, 2007

Google has grown by doing things differently than the status quo, and if they do introduce a phone they may buck current practice there, too.

Much speculation centers on the company making a cell phone and even selling its own service plan. But many others expect Google will stake its claim in telecom with a Wi-Fi phone that transmits calls over the Internet rather than over cellular networks. Google didn’t return calls seeking comment.

“A Wi-Fi phone makes more sense to me,” said analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates. “I could see them put out a phone with VoIP (Internet calling) and a good Web browser, then make money through search-based ads like they do now on desktops.” (From Any Google Wireless Handset Might Be Of The Wi-Fi Variety)

A Wi-Fi phone would be interesting, but hardly a mass market product in the near future. It would be a long-term play by Google – cell phone coverage is finally getting fairly pervasive in the U.S., but is far from perfect and not nearly as universal as in Europe. Wi-Fi, by comparision, is almost non-existent. Municipal Wi-Fi networks are coming in a few areas, but coverage is likely to be very limited for years.

I’d be surprised by a Google Wi-Fi only phone. If Google wants to impact the mobile phone/mobile search market quickly, conventional cell technology seems like the only option.