Google Phone Speculation Runs Wild

    August 3, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

We have speculated before about the potential for a Google phone and an ad-supported network to back it. Google may have an early version of the device ready to go.

Google Phone Speculation Runs Wild
Google Phone Speculation Runs Wild

Even if a Google phone emerges soon, we aren’t inclined to think that it will be the end result of the company’s development efforts. Ever since they purchased mobile software firm Android in 2005, we have wondered how Google might use the technology.

A Computerworld report cited some of the shortcomings of efforts by other companies, and Google, with regards to privately-branded phones and networks. They noted Disney’s multiple failures with its ESPN Mobile service and its sparsely populated Disney Mobile devices.

Analyst Jeff Kagan described the performance of ad-supported wireless networks over the past ten years as "not successful." This is where people may be reading too much into the idea of Google debuting a prototype ad-supported phone right now.

It’s simply too soon to judge a device Google produced in-house unless, and this is a big caveat, they had help from the world’s most prominent technology design house, a company where Google CEO Eric Schmidt just happens to sit on the board of directors.

That would be Apple. Of course, Apple just debuted its iPhone in June. It’s a high-end device in price and capabilities. Google isn’t going to kick the legs out from under Steve Jobs. Not because they don’t want to, but mostly because they can’t yet.

Google has been talking with wireless providers about adding its services to existing networks, with mixed success. Companies like Verizon don’t like the revenue split Google proposed.

Like every gambler knows, the best money to play with is house money. For Google to play with house money, they need to own the house.

That’s why Google’s experimentation with Sprint on building a portal for Sprint’s future WiMAX wireless users strikes us as more important than rumblings about hardware right now. Google will use the Sprint WiMAX portal as a place to refine their services as delivered by that high-speed wireless option, and draw customer feedback.

After that, we expect the next step to happen with Google putting all of the ‘dark fiber’ it has purchased to work. Once they light that up and plug it into WiMAX antenna backed with portable datacenters strategically placed to enable faster access to wireless services, like videos and video advertising, that will be when the real Google Phone arrives.