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Google Businesses The Internet Communications

GPhone Still In the Works At Google 106

Posted by Zonk
from the i-wish-goog-411-worked-better dept.
Technical Writing Geek writes "According to sources at a Taiwanese manufacturer, Google will definitely be launching its own branded phone. An article at DigiTimes states that the company has yet to finalize the handset's specifications, OS, production contractor and operating partners. 'TI's handset chipsets will find their way into the Google phone should the company decide to roll out an EDGE-compliant handset, but Qualcomm could turn out to be the winner if Google decides to bet on a 3G model ... However, the choice of a 3G platform might force Google to postpone the launch of the so-called Gphone to the first half of 2008 instead of the latter half of this year as expected due to the change of platform and problems related to licensing of patented technologies ...'"
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GPhone Still In the Works At Google

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  • The real winner (Score:2, Insightful)

    by miroth (611718)
    The real winner (other than Google) will be whichever service provider wins the Gphone contract.
    • Re:The real winner (Score:5, Insightful)

      by petehead (1041740) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:20PM (#20689853)

      The real winner (other than Google) will be whichever service provider wins the Gphone contract.


      I, for one, hope the Google doesn't sign exclusively with one carrier.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That won't matter. Like a certain other phone, it will be reverse-engineered so that it may be used on other networks.

        It's only a matter of time.
        • Like a certain other phone, it will be reverse-engineered so that it may be used on other networks.

          Only if anyone wants the damn thing. I know I don't...
          • Don't see how it matters. As long as the hackers want to play with it, it will be hacked. And I don't know too many hackers who would pass over playing around with new tech.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Much to the contrary, from what I've heard it will be OpenSource all the way from kernel (Linux) to app layer (Java VM), including application framework and extensive developer support. And cheap too. The whole point of this is to kick-start a community around OSS phone development.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Speed Pour (1051122)
        Google has claimed many times, and I think they have demonstrated this with their success, that their business does it's best when it operates as platform independent. In this instance, that means building a phone that will work with every provider of a particular technology, be it 3G, EDGE, or whatever...

        It doesn't seem unlikely that they would eventually build phones for each of the major options so that a "GPhone" could be connected to Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and every other service you care to n
    • I wonder if an anti-trust suit could win against google if they chose AT&T.
    • Google is bidding in that upcoming spectrum auction. They do operate wifi stations in select locations. And they do like putting a half-assed effort into everything. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:18PM (#20689835) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if it will pop-up Flash ads during phone calls.

    • You call/receive call
    • Google speech pattern recogniser listens in, detects 'date', 'dinner' and 'movie'
    • Information passed to server
    • Server pops up ad for Trojans (complete with animation!)

    nah, they'd never do that .. would they?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:28PM (#20689979) Homepage Journal
      If they do that then I will add the following predictions

      1: The GPhone will be free, but you can buy one if you wish to use your own number.
      2: It will never leave Beta.
      3: Microsoft and Yahoo will release rival Phones, but they wont be as good, and will look ugly.
      4: People will complain that the Gphone is clearly a monopoly as it is Google leverage its advertising monopoly into another market to take it over....*

      * Not that I think Google is a monopolist, nor can I see why they would be classed as such
      • I wouldnt mind a ad supported phone made by Google actually.
        Good way to wipe out the competition as well.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by CrashandDie (1114135)

        * Not that I think Google is a monopolist, nor can I see why they would be classed as such

        It's not Google's monopolistic nature that scares people, it's the sense of hegemony that pours out of all their apps...

        They want to do everything, maps, email, search, video, phones, calendar, file indexing, coder motivation, etc

        I don't mind it, I mean, it's not your usual next door company, but they are a regular company. Plus, a few people think it'll soon be all over [battellemedia.com]

        Though, I do understand why people would see Google as an evil company, the bottom line is that they are nothing more than a com

    • by GunFodder (208805)
      Who cares when you can run Firefox with AdBlocker?
  • Eh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by taupin (1047372) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:18PM (#20689837)
    So there's not actually any information here. Everything is still up in the air - OS, partners, specs, producers, launch date - except that Google *will* be making a phone.

    Wake me up when something actually is known.

    Other thoughts...
    How long will it be in beta?
    September Fools' ?
    • Nothing decided, but it's expected latter half of this year.

      Product development moves well at Google.
  • Data collection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bhalter80 (916317) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:20PM (#20689863)
    Does anyone see this bringing a whole new meaning to phoning home? Think of all the data they could collect but owning the platform, they could mine where your contacts live how often you talk to each of them, all sorts of usagine information not relating to the phone depending on the feature set. This seems like a data miner's mother lode.
    • Re:Data collection (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RobertM1968 (951074) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:23PM (#20689901) Homepage Journal

      Which isn't too much different from any other Cell Provider... especially since many still sell that information - while Google has a history of creating a level of user anonymity that companies like AT&T don't.

      So while Google may have access to more information (assuming you use their phones to access Google's online services), they seem less likely to use that information (from current and previous track records) than other cell carriers already ARE doing.

      • [Google's data-mining capabilities aren't] much different from any other Cell Provider...

        I'd contend that they are quite different. Google has many different channels of data available, most of it digital rather than in need of anything like voice recognition, which Google is eminently capable of correlating and drawing semantic inferences from. These statements don't apply to other cellphone carriers.

        ...while Google has a history of creating a level of user anonymity that companies like AT&T don

        • ...which is all the same data the cell carriers routing the rest of your phone traffic have? They've got access to the info either way. Google will, only through using their service.

          Google sells ads using the data through their ad service. The phone companies sell your information to their "partners" so they can make money that way since they dont have an ad model like Google's (which I think addresses your last point).

    • Re:Data collection (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hc5duke (930493) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:41PM (#20690107)

      Think of all the data they could collect but owning the platform, they could mine where your contacts live how often you talk to each of them, all sorts of usagine information not relating to the phone depending on the feature set. This seems like a data miner's mother lode.
      RIM already has that capability with BlackBerry.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blhack (921171) *

      Think of all the data they could collect but owning the platform, they could mine
      where your contacts live how often you talk to each of them,

      From what I hear, the google brothers closest from Brad Dunglhorfingshtick owns the worlds foremost tinfoil hat manufacturing facility. This is, IMHO, simply an attempt by google to gift their friend Brad D. some cash; tax free. Informants inside of google have even gone so far as to state that Sergey is PERSONALLY fronting the operating capital for They're Watching, Brad's hat conglomorate. IN this way, Sergey is said to be "double-dipping", a term coined the the mid-90's hit comdedy television show "S

      • Or......you're an idiot.

        I'm having a hard time seeing what incentive they would have to make a phone besides using it for data mining. That's what Google does. They collect information about you and send you targeted advertisements. It's how they make their money. They've done that with every service they've offered.

        Exactly what do you propose their motivation is here? You seem to be implying that with this GPhone, Google breaks with all of its previous history for some mysterious reason.

        • Possibly because advertising and marketing is the only real revenue stream for the services Google already provide. With a phone the revenue stream exists from line-rental and call charges. The reason Google would want to move into the phone market is not necessarily to use it for direct marketing purposes but simply because they can see that mobile devices are currently, and will continue to be used more and more for accessing online services, and they want to make sure that people use their particular on
        • by Nullav (1053766)

          You seem to be implying that with this GPhone, Google breaks with all of its previous history for some mysterious reason.

          Google has been branching out into damn near everything for quite a while now; it was only a matter of time before they started trying to sell goods instead of services. Also, who says they can't tie it in with their services? Gmail, Google Video (and YouTube), Froogle, etc. Looking at how much space they set aside for Gmail accounts, I could see them setting up an online storage service

      • Re:Data collection (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @08:13PM (#20690419)
        Or......you're an idiot.

        well, read this and see if you still feel like defending google no matter what they do:

        http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/google.html [motherjones.com]

        the fact is they have a lot of power and they have a lot of data. past performance is no indicator of future, as they say, and given that absolute power corrupts absolutely, I just fear any single entity that gets that much info on us.

        I don't worry about the gov getting as much on us - the gov is mostly incompetant (that actually works in our favor, as citizens). but google is pretty competant - and that scares me, given how much data and access (and machine power) they have.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by m2943 (1140797)
          I don't worry about the gov getting as much on us - the gov is mostly incompetant (that actually works in our favor, as citizens). but google is pretty competant

          You are so naive. Do you really think that the people that manage a trillion dollars of our money and can casually send US troops to kill 500k civilians overseas are stupid and bumbled into their jobs? Look at who's running the country now and who was running it half a century ago. These people want power above all and were smart enough to get it,
        • by Mikkelin (945622)
          Past performance is no indicator of future? What a strange thing to say. I consider it a very reliable indicator, though of course it is not the only one, nor is it always right.
    • knowing who had a hand in this device's design, how could a net saavy person trust it?

      google scares me, with the huge amounts of customer data they have 'in trust' on us.

      I don't think I'll be considering any kind of 'google phone' thank you.

    • by Onan (25162)
      No need to worry about that. We already know everything about you.

      How's that move from Amherst to Nashua treating you?

      (No need to tell us, we already know. Just making conversation.)

      • It is rather amusing when people worry about how much info companies like Google collect, when it's so easy to get personal information with a quick search.
    • by hawk (1151)
      >Does anyone see this bringing a whole new meaning to phoning home?

      More importantly, it means we'll be able to *find* our phones instead of spending hours searching for them . . .

      hawk
  • by inzy (1095415)
    but no real details. nothing beyond what was reported the last time this was here, or the time before, or the time before........

    wake me up when google announce something
  • by WindowlessView (703773) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:22PM (#20689881)
    WTF? So, basically the gPhone will have some kind of operating system and be connected to some kind of network, all of it to made by some as yet unnamed manufacturer.
  • by freyyr890 (1019088) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:24PM (#20689923) Homepage
  • Only one question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mysterious_mark (577643) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:24PM (#20689925)
    Will it have an SDK and or support J2ME?
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by QuantumG (50515)
      I would hope that Google phones would move away from this Java insanity.

      Small device + virtual machine .. what a great idea!

  • by jefu (53450)

    I hope someone there read Stephen Fry's recent blog on phones [stephenfry.com] and is taking it all to heart.

    • by afabbro (33948)
      I hope Stephen Fry's sysadmin checked his logs and took the Apache 503 errors to heart.
  • This year? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:29PM (#20689991) Homepage

    ...However, the choice of a 3G platform might force Google to postpone the launch of the so-called Gphone to the first half of 2008 instead of the latter half of this year as expected...

    We're already in the latter half of this year. Its nearly October!

    If they don't have a hardware spec, OS, production contractor or operating partners I'd put my money on the proverbial snowball in hell before GPhone 2007

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoapBox17 (1020345) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:39PM (#20690089) Homepage

    An article at DigiTimes states that the company has yet to finalize the handset's specifications, OS, production contractor and operating partners.
    In other words, they have not finalized anything. Which is basically the definition of vaporware.
    • by iamacat (583406)
      Not from Google's point of view. You can not have vaporware if you don't announce the product. "Preliminary discussions" would be a better term.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Vaporware is when some one claims it has been finalized, but the product is never materialized.

      This is called 'Planning', or possibly 'road mapping', maybe even 'talking out their ass'.
    • I hear the phone will ship with a free demo of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • by Chineseyes (691744) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:40PM (#20690099)
    would be if they released their own phone OS instead of their own phone with cross platform syncing tools. Windows Mobile is PAINFULLY lacking and I refuse to use the IPhone until they have one with a replaceable battery and a minisd slot.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      refuse to use the IPhone until they have one with a replaceable battery and a minisd slot.

      Why? It's already smaller/lighter/thinner than many competitors, and if you're worried about battery life, there are several external batteries that fit on the back almost seamlessly and connect to the bottom connector. And if you want to replace the internal battery without giving up the phone, there are already several replacement kits out.

      -b.

  • by greywire (78262) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:54PM (#20690235) Homepage
    I have to wonder what the gPhone will be like when there's already the iPhone getting all the attention. Because certainly they've been working on this since before the iPhone came out, and, since Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on the Apple board, they probably knew more about the iPhone than the public did before it came out...

    One has to wonder if Google would even want to compete head on with the iPhone..

    But they wouldn't be making something of lesser gee-whiz functionality, would they..

    If it wasn't for my knowing that Apple hasn't traditionally been interested in sharing their IP with "clone" companies, I would almost start to think the gPhone is going to be a lot like the iPhone..

    Maybe there's more going on between Apple and Google than we know...
    • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @11:45PM (#20692267)

      One has to wonder if Google would even want to compete head on with the iPhone..
      I hope not. The iPhone is just a smartphone with a few new features that looks like an iPod; there's nothing special about the infrastructure or business model.

      If google jumps in, I hope it will be more revolutionary. For instance, if they won the bandwidth auction that's happening soon, and used that to make a high-speed nationwide data+voice wireless network open to third party devices (though since it's "new" spectrum, initially only the gPhone would work). I'm probably just setting myself up for major disappointment, but that's what I wish.

    • I really hope not. All I want is a cheap phone (and service) that get excellent coverage and has a battery that will last for more than 12 hours. I would love to able to tell my current carrier to get lost and stop financing illegal wiretapping.
      • by greywire (78262)
        You know, I have to wonder why "smart phones" and even just plain ("dumb phones"?) phones still cost so much. $400 for an iphone, or the HTC touch? And more for Treo's? I don't get it. I bought a Clie TG50 like 5 years ago with similar specs for $400. And the phone circuitry by now should be cheap to add.

        I want to see something for like $200 (which with new phone plan subsidies would be almost free, like most plain phones..), with a decent CPU in the 200mhz range, a reasonable amount of flash memory (a
    • Google has the advertising clout to compete with anyone for mind-share.

      I think the price drop on the iPhone is reactionary... it doesn't have any technologies that can't be licenced elsewhere. Also it's somewhat limited in reconfigurability... If google puts it on their main page (even as the google graphic for the day) mentioning it will have an ad supported version and will support free voip out of the box it should be incredibly successful. Geeks and college students know about wi-fi availability and t
  • 700 MHz (Score:4, Interesting)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @08:04PM (#20690325)
    If Google gets the spectrum license, will they be building their own competing voice/data network in the USA?

    -b.

    • Re:700 MHz (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:26PM (#20691061) Homepage

      Well... yeah. That's what the 700Mhz spectrum is going to be used for, and Google is one of the players looking to bid.

      Of course, the really big idea is not to have a voice/data network, but to have it be an all-data network with VOIP. Of course, carriers really hate the idea because it pushes the idea that you can have a dumb pipe, and separate from that you have voice service which could possible be provided by another provider. The cell carrier business model relies on the presumption that the pipe and the service are inseparable, and building the pipe entitles you to all service contracts of any sort.

      Verizon and the cable companies like this idea, too, that phone services, data services, and video services are all somehow inherently bound to the data network that carries them. This is what the net neutrality debate is all about. These big companies want to say, "I own the pipe, so I should get a piece of anyone providing any service through that pipe." If we can ever knock the services free of the pipe, I think we'll see a bit of a revolution.

      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        Of course, carriers really hate the idea because it pushes the idea that you can have a dumb pipe, and separate from that you have voice service which could possible be provided by another provider.

        Sort of -- standard TCP/IP is really bad at doing voice, especially over poor connections. Too much latency, even when speed is high.

        -b.

        • by Tancred (3904)
          You're off the mark on this one. First, because the TCP transport layer protocol is inappropriate for real time applications - use UDP with RTP on top of it. For instance, there's no need to retransmit dropped packets; in fact waiting for a retransmitted packet before continuing would be worse than having a few milliseconds of dead air. Second, because the latency is due to the the characteristics of the physical layer. So any physical medium that can handle voice + data can handle data, including VOIP.
  • by arsheive (609065) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @08:09PM (#20690383)
    I want an "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on this thing that uses google's vast amounts of data on everyone to automatically call whomever I _should_ be talking to at the time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Serhei (1150661)
      Then, I want this feature put in a phone with no screen and one button, so that it can compete with the iPhone Shuffle.
  • by peterb (13831) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @08:09PM (#20690385) Homepage Journal
    You just gotta love /. "Google's planning on shipping the phone in the latter half of this year, even though they haven't yet decided on what the hardware platform is, what OS it will be running, who their cell network partners will be, or any of the manufacturing details!" Also, in other news, I will be giving free ponies to everyone who visits my website [tleaves.com]. Free flying ponies.
    • It depends on a few things. If Google really *has* already got the phone OS & UI done or mostly done, then choosing a phone platform that already exists, and negotiating a service contract might not take that long. I still very much doubt that it'll happen this year, but it's not impossible, depending on the work that's already been done. I just wouldn't count on a unique new hardware platform for the phone with that kind of schedule. Making a high-tech phone doesn't require any new technology these day
    • by zobier (585066)

      in other news, I will be giving free ponies to everyone who visits my website [tleaves.com]. Free flying ponies.
      May I please have my pony now?
      • by peterb (13831)
        It is being shipped to your house right now, on the same boat that is delivering the gPhone.
  • Clearly (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @08:43PM (#20690677) Homepage Journal
    the iPhone is the one to get, it's two better.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:05PM (#20690881)
    the company has yet to finalize the handset's specifications, OS, production contractor and operating partners

    Hmm...that sounds just like my plan to take over the world! I just haven't figured out how, yet, that's all. But just you wait! *shakes fist*
  • Since Apple won't actually be shipping any iPhones to Canada until we're a 200 million person marketplace in the late 2900's, now's your chance to come in early and dominate the Canadian market!
  • Come on, people, there is no way Google will go for EDGE.

    As you may have heard, Google is a large search engine which also provides excellent services like YouTube. Search engines also forward users to web sites filled with graphics and some with videos.

    So why would Google want to construct a phone? Do they intend to make the best phone experience or do they tout this thing as the ultimate source to information via the World Wide Web? It's clear to me that a company like Google wants to maximize the s
    • by afabbro (33948)
      So why would Google want to construct a phone?

      They have way too much money and have failed to innovate beyond being a search engine? Just guessing...

  • by 8ball629 (963244) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @11:56PM (#20692345) Homepage
    3D Realms has confirmed that they will be releasing Duke Nukem Forever the 2nd quarter of next year due to issues surrounding DirectX 8.
  • I am sticking with my iPhone. For starters, its exists and by the time this gphone comes out Apple will have 3G anyway. Somehow I am guess Apple will do (has done) a better job than Google. Google make a great search engine, etc. but Apple gets the consumer device stuff big time. What will google do on the phone that will make it so much better than Apple? Will they somehow limit the type of local searches to keep that market to themselves (which pretty much goes against their MO). Can't wait to see ho
    • Cheap service over a data network that prioritizes VOIP traffic. Add in a specialized Google search and you could have real time GPS. I certainly wouldn't drop several hundred dollars on an iphone. I already have an ipod and a cell phone. Why do I need one? Having said that; I'm definitely interested in what Google can offer.
  • What we need is a Google Operating System. That will successfully launch Google to the "Microsoft that should have been" status that we (techies) desire. In fact, I hope that Google replaces Microsoft, because from a software standpoint Google does everything right were Microsoft does everything wrong.
    • I dissagree with that statement. Google does not do everything right, and Microsoft doesn't do everything wrong. Microsoft has some good products out there, they would have to be otherwise people wouldn't buy them. Also, I will not ever install google desktop search on any of my PC's again as it has brought 3 of them to a hault at various times (memory leaks). I wouldn't mind a Google operating system as it could help inspire other OS's and competition is always a good thing in my opinion, but that does
      • I would not be surprised at all if a *nix based desktop distro was one of their top secret projects. The reason so many people use Microsoft products is because they don't know there are alternatives. Another reason is because of old-timers that believe that if you don't pay for something it doesn't have any worth. Google is in a prime position to launch any number of products that compete with Microsoft, not because they are perfect, but because they have people's attention. I also have to agree with yo
  • I'm not sure Google would be tied to one carrier. That doesn't seem to hold an advantage for them. They want to expand their customer base not shrink it. Unless the deal gets me 2 phones with unlimited calling for $70 a month it's not financially smart for me to switch. If it does come in that price range I'll buy and let me friends suffer with the loss of cell to cell minutes. They'll need a network which can handle all sorts of traffic without crashing like the housing industries stock. From what I hear n
  • And the speex technology has come a long way. They could really kick everyone's ass if they do everything right. Less data = Less power, right? More information through the network? Better service and coverage? Who know's what's up? They could be planning anything! Maybe it's an iPhone clone with surround sound built in? God only knows. If they use the openmoko platform, though, and really make some killer apps (picasa, google earth, GPS, mp3, ogg, super fast youtube....., SNES emu...), I want one
    • by crhylove (205956)
      PS Venture capitalists: I have other no brainer ideas that could work right now in tech convergence between cell phones and PCs, and in other technologies altogether. Give me a ring (email first).

      Much Love homies,
      rhY

      PS Since it's got a vid cam already can we vid chat in h.264 Please? How much bandwidth is that at 320x240? Hook a brother up!

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