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"GPhone" arrives with a whimper

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Aww, how cute, it’s a mobile operating system.

You’ll pardon me for a moment while I put on my ‘shocked face’ that Google’s pet online outlets received the first word about their aims in the mobile phone space.

(You can imagine the shocked face now. Just think Kevin putting on aftershave in the first Home Alone movie. You get the idea.)

Google has doled out the Scooby Snacks via Andy Rubin, the brilliant mobile designer who came to Google via the search company’s acquisition of Android in 2005.

The less-personalized details arrived in a statement from Google, which announced Android has been rebranded as a development platform, with participating handset makers forming the membership of the Open Handset Alliance, aka Everyone Who Isn’t Nokia.

Google will provide the Alliance participants, like T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola, etc, with Android, and they can build upon it from there. Branding a device as a Google Phone does not appear to be a requirement.

So all the chatter boils down to an advertising play, one that could get Google into more pockets. They’ll have to make inroads against Nokia, and Microsoft in some places, for acceptance.

That’s going to depend on how appealing the hardware manufacturers can make the phones, and how competitively wireless firms can sell them and market data services for them. If it’s the usual $40 per month for voice, $15 more for data, two-year lock-in agreement, can a Google Phone OS be any more compelling for a buyer?

It can, depending on the features the handset makers build. A generous screen, 2 megapixel camera (connecting to Picasa Web Albums, perhaps), and maybe a QWERTY keyboard, bundled with an Opera browser, could be an interesting device to own.

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again. This announcement would be much more interesting if Google’s announcement included plans for an alternative network, one not dominated by the usual wireless suspects.

Via Google

"GPhone" arrives with a whimper
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