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Here comes the G-phone

Here comes the G-phone
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First Published: Thu, Dec 17 2009. 09 16 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Dec 17 2009. 09 16 PM IST
In a move expected to have repercussions for every player in the mobile telephony value chain, Google has indicated that it is working on a Google-branded mobile phone.The news found its way onto the Web through leaked photos, videos of the booting screen and, more conclusively, details from an application Google filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The application (No. 77891022) is for a mobile phone device called the “Nexus One”.
By then Google announced that several employees were going on an “Android dogfood diet for the holidays”. Dogfooding, or eating your own dogfood, is techspeak for making employees themselves use a product on an experimental basis. Presumably before a wider public release. Android is Google’s own mobile operating system.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, it appears that the device, manufactured by HTC and powered by Android, will soon be available for consumers, perhaps as early as next year. The smartphone will be the next step in Google’s ambition to dominate the ways in which consumers access information. Already, Google offers several mobile services to consumers including applications for email, search and navigation. In some cases, these products have run into trouble with networks and handset manufacturers. A Google-branded phone helps the Internet giant break free of these restrictions.
Also, it will be yet another platform for the company to extend its extremely profitable targeted advertising business. So far, consumers have shown an inclination to accept Google’s advertising overtures in exchange for Web services. With complete control over hardware and software with the Nexus One, there is no reason why Google should not replicate this success on a mobile platform.
Apart from the challenge this poses competitors, including Google partners using the Android platform, this phone could mean trouble for operators. AT&T in the US is already struggling to cope with the amount of data iPhones consume. The Nexus One, which is being sold as network-independent, can magnify this problem. As it becomes easier to use data services on phones, including voice over Internet protocol, operators may soon see themselves carrying less voice and more data. This signifies shifts in income and infrastructure strategies.
For consumers, this is good news. Google has a tendency to be disruptive in most of its ventures. If its record is any indication, the Nexus One can only help smartphones get smarter.
Is the G-Phone the next big thing in mobile telephony? Tell us at views@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Dec 17 2009. 09 16 PM IST
More Topics: Ourviews | Google | Telephony | G-phone | Android |