“Google’s first mobile phone will run a Linux operating system on a Texas Instruments “Edge” chipset, and will likely ship to T-Mobile and Orange customers in the Spring of 2008, according to unconfirmed reports. “GPhone” call minutes and text messages reportedly will be funded by mobile advertising…
News of the so-called “GPhone” or “G-Phone” broke quietly about two weeks ago in the island nation of Singapore, where Jennifer Tan of Reuters subsidiary Anian Research filed a report on July 12.
Tan cited “industry sources,” “U.S. sources,” and “manufacturing and component supply chain sources” in backing her assertion that after year-long delays finding a manufacturer, Google contracted Taiwan-based smartphone maker High Tech Computer (HTC) to design its phone hardware. HTC is best-known for its Windows Mobile smartphones, however, and Tan offered no conjecture about who might supply the phone’s Linux-based operating system.
Additional details reported by Tan include:
* The G-Phone will have a large color screen with a predictive Qwerty keypad to simplify Google searching
* A follow-up 3G-capable model (Edge is considered “2.75G”) will use a Qualcomm chipset
* Scheduled for production in Q1 of 2006, the Google phone will hit retail shelves next spring
* Call minutes and text messages are to be funded by “mobile advertising”
* Google originally hoped to launch a phone this year, but was delayed by “difficulties in nailing down a deal with a handset maker”
* T-Mobile will carrier the phone in the U.S., along with (possibly) Orange in other markets
Tan quotes Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Marianne Wolk as having said, “A mobile offering would be consistent with Google’s goal to make search accessible. We believe Google would design a solution to facilitate greater use of Google Search and other applications like Google Talk, Gmail, Google Maps, encourage wireless video, and leverage this usage to hasten the market for mobile advertising.”
Google itself has declined to comment on rumors it plans to produce a phone, Tan reported.”