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Google Phone Rumors Solidifying 90

Posted by kdawson
from the and-a-pony dept.
MrCrassic alerts us to an Ars Technica roundup of various reports about Google's rumored gPhone, from CrunchGear, Engadget, and others. Business Week attempts to read into the silence of software developers (who are all, presumably, under NDA) to triangulate Google's plans. Both outlets agree that Google is probably developing its own Linux-based OS for the gPhone, and that it will be open to outside developers.
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Google Phone Rumors Solidifying

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  • 411 (Score:5, Funny)

    by mfh (56) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:02AM (#20972823) Journal
    "Hello 411? How come I get more than a million listings for that number? And how come the first 10 listings all go to telemarketers?"
  • even better (Score:3, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:05AM (#20972831) Homepage
    roundup of various reports about Google's rumored gPhone

    Psshhh.. Who needs a G-phone, when you can have an O.G. Phone? [makezine.com]
  • hey, great... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cosmocain (1060326) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:07AM (#20972841)
    ...not only all my private email is stored, my office documents analyzed, my photos categorized, now i can have all my sms and phone calls archived. let me celebrate this with a little dance of celebration: tippididibclapdip.
    • erm... i meant: let me honour this with a little dance of celebration.

      my enthusiasm went riot, sorry.
    • ...not only all my private email is stored, my office documents analyzed, my photos categorized, now i can have all my sms and phone calls archived. let me celebrate this with a little dance of celebration: tippididibclapdip.

      I'm starting to see this as a good thing.

      In my Instrumentations and Circuits lab we're regularly required to use PSPICE, Multisim, etc type programs for homeworks.

      I send myself the homeworks once I've completed them, and I linked my school account to my Gmail account, so any emails from classes go straight to Gmail.

      Between the two, Google figured out a free version of SPICE is what I needed, and placed that in the "Sponsored Links" section at the top of my email (yes you can turn it off but sometimes ther

  • by Klaidas (981300) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:12AM (#20972859)
    I guess the gPhone will probably use 3G, be available worldwide and open for developers... Quite a competition for the iPhone, if you ask me. Maybe apple will then listen more to what customers want on their iPhones?
    • by mangu (126918) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:20AM (#20972889)
      How about this phone [trolltech.com]? It has everything a developer could want, right? Or how about this one [openmoko.org]? Or all of these [linuxdevices.com]?


      I think being open for development isn't enough, you also need to spend a couple $100 million or so in marketing...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aliquis (678370)
        Trolltech one is cool but waaaay to expensive.

        In other news both my phones where 250 and 350 sek each.
        • "The only problem with Microsoft is, they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste", Steve Jobs back in the 80s

          Back in the 90s, actually. You can youtube the clip.
          • by aliquis (678370)
            I see, he looked like he did in 1983 so I guess it wasn't far away from that, he looks much older now, but if you say so it may be correct. Do you know what I should search for to get the date aswell?

            Anyway, he's correct ;D

            I wonder where we would had been if noone had listened to Chris Espinosa :(
            To bad WE lost so much time, we as in everyone doing computing, not just Apple and their users.
          • "The only problem with Microsoft is, they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste", Steve Jobs back in the 80s
            And then Apple went on to invent the hockey-puck mouse. Morpheus was right, fate does have a sense of irony.
      • by Klaidas (981300) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:40AM (#20972987)
        True, but google has already spent waaaay more in marketing, so they can safely skip this step.
        Just like apple - most phones were bought just because they have their logo (I'm not saying that the phone itself is not cool - I'd like to get one myself!, but if it was some unknown company the phone probably wouldn't be as popular as it is.)
        Besides, google is even better known than apple is. For example, ask a first grade student what's google, and they'll know. Ask about apple, and they'll probably tell you that it's a fruit and nothing more :)
        • by rtb61 (674572)
          So nobody knows what an apple ipod is, especially teenagers, hmm, I don't think so. So what exactly does a search engine have to do with a consumer product, any consumer product. As for products being well know, Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, Sharp are all very well know consumer product producers, but their phones are not winners.

          Google is going to jump in a highly competitive market, with absolutely zero consumer appliance experience, or absolutely no brand recognition in that product area.

          As for google ma

          • Apple jumped into the phone market with no previous experience in that area, and they did pretty well out of it. With enough R&D there's no reason why they couldn't make a kick ass device!
            • by rtb61 (674572)
              Apple had this whole, notebook, desktop, consumer computer thing going for them. The one targeted at a music and art minded, creative people, so they did in fact have experience in that area. Google has nothing but a track record of being privacy invasive and being a habituated endless targeted marketing machine.

              Also think of the inherent subconscious coolness factor, think back to your school days and remember those nosey kids that pried into everyone's personal life, the ones that nobody liked or wanted

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                I agree that Google will have to fight an uphill battle. Apple has a lot of people well experienced in design of the consumer electronics. But Google has some very good designers as well. I think that UI of GMail is really good; this was the first web mail I really wanted to use. Also, GTalk seem like "oh, dear, finally some simple messenger", or even better "look, it works from browser now". Google's home page, which seems normal now to us, was 100% opposite to what we were learned to see before (we used m
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LingNoi (1066278)
        The last link about the Linux devices... Some of these arn't open source. For example the Motorola phones, although they use Linux are locked down via DRM.

        I found out about this after I bought a Motorola A1200 advertised as using Linux then found out that although you can get a code of the Linux code they use it's completely useless because your can't compile and use your own kernel for the phone.
      • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @09:47AM (#20973289)

        I think being open for development isn't enough, you also need to spend a couple $100 million or so in marketing...
        If only... if only google had a bunch of money lying around, or access to some sort of communications medium that could present advertising to a wide audience?
        • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @10:59AM (#20973681)

          I think being open for development isn't enough, you also need to spend a couple $100 million or so in marketing...
          If only... if only google had a bunch of money lying around, or access to some sort of communications medium that could present advertising to a wide audience?
          Perhaps some day, my friend, perhaps some day. Until then, we'll just have to be fanboys and spread the news ourselves. I'm going to start by buying some adwords from... oh, nevermind ;).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sc0ob5 (836562)
        It's all well and good to list off a few phones but the fact is that I have tried to get a few of those phones (at least some in the linux devices list) and I have to say they aren't easy to come by here in Australia and I didn't get replies from a few vendors, one would have thought they'd actually be happy to sell their hardware. Many of the phones will not work on our networks, and the ones that do are in chinese or korean or japanese. Also none of those phones are 3G capable and none have HSDPA. Not exa
      • Or how about "being open isn't enough, you need to develop a finished product better than the competition"?

        OSS developers need to stop expecting users to buy a phone or operating system that lacks features the user wants (ie: finished software, full multitouch support to compete with the iPhone, a sane way to install and manage software (even when your distro doesn't make a package for it)) just because -- GEEKGASM! -- it's open source.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by p0tat03 (985078)

        It's not just marketing. Here in Toronto the subway walls have been plastered with massive, blaring ads for Moto's RAZR 2. But none of my friends and colleagues want the phone. Omnipresent and expensive marketing can help a product sell, but it won't sell a product all by itself.

        What DOES sell a phone? New shininess, and a slick UI that blows people away. Even just showing people my iPhone's keypad blows them away - the thing is intelligent enough to format your phone numbers into country code, area code,

      • I think being open for development isn't enough, you also need to spend a couple $100 million or so in marketing...

        I think what you really need is best-of-class hardware, open development, and most of all - great software, which is where the iPhone really shines.

        Given the importance of software, you'd think stupid Steve would be smart enough to allow the millions of hackers out here to help him expand his lead. Instead, we're gonna help the other guys tear him down. I smashed my iPhone to pieces at the Ap

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by doti (966971)
      But how much open will be that?

      Will I be able to use it without my data going through Google routers?
    • by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Sunday October 14, 2007 @09:53AM (#20973325) Homepage
      Yeah, because the unwashed masses LOVE linux. And know what it is.

      The fun number of "people who want to run 3rd party apps on their iPhones" is 2%. Two percent. Most people don't care. They couldn't run 3rd party apps on their old phones and they can't do it yet with their iPhone.
      • by Echnin (607099) <p3s46f102.sneakemail@com> on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:56AM (#20974037) Homepage
        About that number though - from the way it's phrased it seems to refer to 2% of iPhone owners; maybe people who wanted to run 3rd party apps didn't buy iPhones? I really, really wanted to buy an iPhone for the form factor, multi-touch, and other goodies, but I really, really need to run a certain app [plecodict.com], which, the developers say, *would* have been ported to the iPhone if Apple would have allowed it. In the end, I bought a Windows Mobile phone (HTC Blue Angel) and I hate it in every possible way (the crashing, the slowness, rough UI) except for the fact that it allows me to use this program, which saves my life every single day.

        Apparently, Apple didn't make the iPhone for people like me, but damn I wish they did. Oh, and it would be nice if I could get it some other way than buying it cracked from a shady dealer in Zhongguancun for 6000 yuan. Buying a phone that won't let me substitute the SIM card for a local one when travelling is not an option anyway... In the end, it's Apple's decision what product they want to release, and since they apparently make heaps of money this way through their profit-sharing deal with AT&T, more power to them. Still, though, I wish someone would make a phone for me.

      • by Vellmont (569020)

        The fun number of "people who want to run 3rd party apps on their iPhones" is 2%.

        So you don't think that has something to do with the fact that almost every phone out their is either closed, or only has really crappy apps available for it?

        People DO want to run 3rd party apps. Look no further than the PC market, the PDA market, etc for evidence of that.

        The problem is that cell phones are all tied in with the cell-phone providers, who want to sell you all kinds of extra services. They don't see it to their
      • by SashaMan (263632)

        The fun number of "people who want to run 3rd party apps on their iPhones" is 2%. Two percent. Most people don't care.

        That's total BS. Just because there are no killer third party apps for the iPhone out there right now doesn't mean it isn't easy to think of apps that the "unwashed masses" would love if they were easily available. Some potential 3rd party killer apps I can think of:

        Skype for iPhone - Anyone who pays for more than the minimum number of voice minutes would benefit from a free/cheap mobile VOIP app.
        Games - Lots of people would install good quality games if they were available.
        Business Apps - A high quality M

    • Google probably won't compete directly with the iPhone, because it won't have massive storage, nor a touch screen. However, I wouldn't be shocked it it basic multimedia capabilities like most free phones, and the ability to add storage with a MicroSD card. Many rumors have suggested eventually Google wants to add a free, ad-based phone service, so no doubt they're going to try and keep the cost of the phone down.

      But if I can get something to browse the web, add third-party-webs, listen to music, read emai
  • by Sub Zero 992 (947972) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:23AM (#20972913) Homepage
    Text, video and image data were only the start. Making voip traffic available for analysis will significantly increase the range and amount of data available for nurturing a nascent AI.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Making voip traffic available for analysis will significantly increase the range and amount of data available for nurturing a nascent AI.

      Thanks for your insight, Mister Fud Monger. What on Earth do you think, that Google is going to perform voice recognition on your phone calls? To what end? Giving you more targeted ads? Never gonna happen, cause people would realize quickly enough, besides, most of what people say on the telephone is completely irrelevant to advertising. Besides, Google being as mighty a

      • Excuse me, can you remind me what we're supposed to be scared of again?

        cmputAs dat spk txt
      • most of what people say on the telephone is completely irrelevant to advertising
        I dunno, we might have said the same about e-mail, surely none of it is useful for targeted ads? Then along came gmail.
        • by 4D6963 (933028)

          we might have said the same about e-mail

          And now we don't anymore? Oh of course if Google offers a mail service, it's for the sole purpose of selling us targetted ads! Right, wild baseless speculation.

      • by Joe Tie. (567096)
        I don't know, seems like the majority of my non-work phone use comes down to deciding where to meet up with people. Movies, bars, restaurants and the like. Seems like it'd be both useful to me, and to google to target to that. Now whether they could actually implement it or not is a different story.
  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:25AM (#20972915)

    The iPhone occupies a mobile market that is far separate from what Google will be targeting with its series of lower-end, consumer-level devices.

    If they include a built-in flashlight [mobile-review.com], count me in!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StarfishOne (756076)
      The Nokia 1100 and 1101 also have a built-in flashlight. At first I thought it'd be useless, but it's actually a very handy feature. (Looking for keys/keyhole in the dark, etc.). It's not a huge amount of light, but it won't drain the phone's battery in a few minutes either.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_1100 [wikipedia.org]
      • by cmacb (547347)
        I've had a Sprint based Razr phone for almost a year and at the other end of the spectrum a Nokia 1100 via Tracfon for a couple, and I've played with an iPhone long enough to know that I can live without one.

        I too like the Nokia flashlight feature. I also like that it has a standby life of a month or more (in my experience) and can quickly be turned off and on, unlike the newer phones that must "boot" into a mode that can drive the display even to do something as simple as plug in to recharge.

        I love the fa
      • by Fizzl (209397)
        There's already a bloody flashlight in every mobile!
        Haven't you noticed you can use the screen backlight as quite good flashlight in those emergency situations where you need a bit of light not to stumble on stairs or fit a key to keyhole while not trying to wake up the wife? :)
    • by djtachyon (975314)
      A lot of phones have a built in flashlight, it's called the camera flash. Use it on my Motorola Q all the time ;)
  • by acaeti (770512) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @08:30AM (#20972935)
    What is with this story referencing two very old (August for Ars, September for BizWeek) articles? Perhaps this article would be a bit more relevant: Google 'ready to take on Apple iPhone next year' [independent.co.uk] Sheesh.
  • by Nomen Publicus (1150725) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @09:05AM (#20973075)
    What does Google do? Web apps. What single hardware component would Google want everybody to have?

    A simple, cheap, thin web client that works anywhere where you can get a wireless signal.

    Any voice app would just be a bolt-on goody to the basic device (thanks to skype?)

    Google is in the business of delivering data, they really don't want to share any profit with a middleman such as the phone company. Apple had to do a deal with the devil, but Google as enough money to deal direct with the lost souls.

    • by Baron_Yam (643147) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @09:22AM (#20973161)
      A 700mhz-wireless 4.25"x5.5" tablet running some form of embedded Linux, starts up with a browser connected to a GoogleApps homepage? Let's see - email (gmail), mapping (maps.google.com + gps), phone (skype), word processing, home finance, contact manager (gmail), MP3 & Mpeg playback, online storage (gmail)...

      They could put one in every student's and businessman's hands and still have market left over...
    • by Wonderkid (541329)
      You are spot on. Be great if the manufacturers of hardware license Apple's multi-touch interface tech though. Apple license Quicktime & Firewire so hopefully they will do the same with what is without doubt, a stunning and far more intuitive manner in which to interact with ones toys.
    • What does Google do? Web apps. What single hardware component would Google want everybody to have?

      A simple, cheap, thin web client that works anywhere where you can get a wireless signal.

      Any voice app would just be a bolt-on goody to the basic device (thanks to skype?)

      Google is in the business of delivering data, they really don't want to share any profit with a middleman such as the phone company. Apple had to do a deal with the devil, but Google as enough money to deal direct with the lost souls.

      Seems logical. If we were to compare this to the razor and razorblade model, Google is definitely Gillette. This is the same avenue Microsoft is trying to explore with the Microsoft Live deal, they want it to be your Internet passport, as ubiquitous as your SSN and credit card numbers for transactions and business today. Think of it like Richard Pryor's "shave a half penny" con in Superman III, except Microsoft will be doing it legally.

  • consumer-level? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @10:01AM (#20973357)
    The iPhone occupies a mobile market that is far separate from what Google will be targeting with its series of lower-end, consumer-level devices

    This statement suggests that the iPhone is somehow not a consumer-level device. In fact, both the Google phone and the iPhone look like they are going to be "consumer-level devices". The iPhone is "high end" in terms of its price. In terms of features, if the Google phone provides Google's applications (mail, docs, YouTube, maps, reader, talk, maybe more) and MP3 player functionality, the Google phone would actually be "higher end" as far as I'm concerned. The iPhone becomes even more expensive and complicated if you consider that the Google phone can just operate over the air, while the iPhone uses desktop syncing.

    I think this could be a serious problem for Apple because the one thing Apple traditionally has going for them over other companies is that other companies make their products too complex. But Google keeps things simple and cheap. Furthermore, on-line services without desktops is clearly where the industry is going: Nokia is coming up with OTA tie-ins, and Microsoft and Yahoo are also busy exposing their web sites through phone software and phone integration.
    • Re:consumer-level? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GPL Apostate (1138631) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @10:18AM (#20973421)
      It will be amusing on a certain level if Google, which has been termed a potential 'Microsoft killer,' instead kills Apple.
    • by larkost (79011)
      I am not sure where you are coming up with the distinction that the iPhone is more tethered to the docking station than a gPhone would be. Let's go through your examples:

      mail: iPhone gets mail over EDGE or WiFi. Check.

      docs: iPhone doesn't really do them (by design), except in email. But if they alter Google Docs to work with touch-screen browsers, the iPhone probably gets that as well (since it would be through a web page on the gPhone).

      YouTube: the iPhone gets that (or at least a large sub-set) through EDG
      • Re:consumer-level? (Score:4, Informative)

        by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:35AM (#20973889)
        I am not sure where you are coming up with the distinction that the iPhone is more tethered to the docking station than a gPhone would be.

        You even use iTunes on your "Mac or PC" to activate the iPhone! The phone is designed with desktop syncing in mind; the fact that you can use some mobile web sites to get by without syncing doesn't change that.

        For the Google phone, you'll likely just unpack it, turn it on, and you're good to go. Syncing and all that will probably be OTA, the way a modern phone should be.

        since it would be through a web page on the gPhone

        I see no reason to assume that. In fact, Google has already created mobile applications for mail, calendaring, and maps, and they recommend against using the web based ones on phones that give you a choice.
      • Re:consumer-level? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday October 14, 2007 @11:40AM (#20973931)
        and there is a little problem with keeping a data connection open all the time. It drains the battery fast.

        That's a problem with your Palm, your chat software, and/or your cellular provider. Persistent data connections are widely used on cell phones and don't drain batteries if implemented correctly.
    • by walter_f (889353)
      I think this could be a serious problem for Apple because the one thing Apple traditionally has going for them over other companies is that other companies make their products too complex. But Google keeps things simple and cheap.

      This will be certainly a serious problem for Apple.

      People will just love to have a choice of ten or more hardware devices.

      And there are some people who do not look for a particular PC (even less, for a particular OS), they just want to have "Google" (like five years ago there's bee
    • by xant (99438)
      But Google keeps things simple and cheap

      Google certainly has a history of keeping things simple. But cheap? Please point to the consumer devices Google has offered for sale at a low price. The only physical device I can think of with Google's logo on it is their yellow search appliance (do they still sell them?) and it sure as hell wasn't cheap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285)
      In a way you are right. What Apple does is leverage technology so it is not so complicated. I remember how easy it was on an apple ][ to burn an EEPROM, basically what we later called plug and play. The Apple /// was the beginning of a real memory footprint and the multiple OS personal computer, running Apple DOS, Pro DOS, and CP/M. The Lisa, and Mac, of course, introduced the WIMP interface to the average user, slashing the learning curve and simplifying many tasks(but not all, I still do many things u
      • by m2943 (1140797)
        Apple pushes the hard disk capacity.

        Apple has been trailing other manufacturers on MP3 player hard disk and flash capacities (as well as wireless and functionality).

        high performance dedicated graphics processor, one Apple greatest advantages for a long time.

        Apple has always trailed behind in terms of desktop graphics processors.

        The Lisa, and Mac, of course, introduced the WIMP interface to the average user,

        Nice story, but not true. The average user learned WIMP from Windows. And the average early adopters
  • ...the gSpot, otherwise
    a) noone will believe it exists
    b) if they do, no one will be able to find it.
    • by epgandalf (105735)
      The gSpot already exists. Google bought JotSpot last year at the same time they bought YouTube.
  • When you look at this from a value chain perspective, new players are entering at the device and the content points of the value chain. There are no new entrants coming in to compete with the telecoms. The value added for any new offering is coming from the user interface of the device and the ability to get new content. The wireless infrastructure connecting the content with the devices seems to be less and less of a factor for many consumers and there doesn't seem to be a lot of incentives in this area
  • So far this sounds like Yahoo Go [yahoo.com], maybe with an RSS aggregator built-in as well.
    • by Dishevel (1105119)
      All I need is for my kid to get ahold of my phone and then I will have a dammed yahoo toolbar on my phone as well? Let me just throw it in a vat of acid now.
  • GPhone (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The New York Times published an article about the possibilities of Google entering the wireless phone market. The angle they chose to take was about Google's GPhone and Apple's IPhone. While there may be enough speculation to warrant several paragraphs of news, I think the NYT completely missed the target.

    I believe Google has very little interest in Apple's IPhone, other than partnering with them to insure Google's applications run on the device. I think Google's eyes are on a much bigger picture, affording
  • I'm still waiting for a Qtopia based CDMA smartphone.
  • Why have Vint Cerf on the payroll if you weren't going to try to do something crazy innovative with internetworking?
  • With that name, it won't sell if it doesn't vibrate.

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