The Google Smartphone May Finally Be Ready

Dennis Faas's picture

Reports suggest Google will soon unveil its own smartphone running Google's own Android operating system. However, analysts are split on how significant the move is and whether it will have a major impact on the market.

Rumors of a "Google-phone" have been rampant ever since the company launched its open-source operating system Android, which now appears on a growing number of handsets, most prominently Motorola's Droid phone.

Blog Posting Drops Strong Hints

Officially, the firm has only said "We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe." (Source:

However, it's understood the firm has told people the phone will indeed be going on sale, produced by HTC and named the "Nexus One."

Proof that such a phone exists comes from logs of websites which have already been visited using the device, presumably by Google staffers. The handset has also gone through technical testing by the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, which vets all new phone models. (Source:

Google Phone Sold Without Network Ties

Perhaps the most interesting note about the handset is that it may be sold unlocked: that is, not tied to a particular network (though for technical reasons it's unlikely to be compatible with the Verizon service). The model approved by the FCC would apparently only run on T-Mobile's 3G network service.

The bad news is that this means there will be no subsidy deal, meaning buyers will need to pay the full retail price. While it may work out as a better value than subsidized handsets which come with costly service commitments, a hefty up-front price would make it much harder for Google to attain a mass audience.

Of course, it may be that selling directly rather than through a distributor helps keep the price down (a little). And networks who won't have to make payments to Google may be able to offer lower service fees to attract subscribers.

If true, the latest reports would end speculation that the phone would run only on data networks, with users making voice calls through Internet phone services such as Skype.

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