October 24, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

In search of the Google phone

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There also has been much speculation that the Gphone will run a Linux-based operating system. "Google's inclination would be to make it more useful than just a phone with Internet access," Sterling said. "That seems culturally consistent with the interests of the Google founders. They want to see lots of interesting uses and extensions of it."

And what might those extended uses be? According to patent filings, Google is aiming to allow the phone to become a virtual machine that would connect to a keyboard and display, Arnold said.

The Gphone could also eventually be used to help locate and monitor movements of troops in battle and transmit maps and other critical information to them, he said referring to another patent. And imagine a phone with medical uses that could monitor your heart and pulse and call emergency personnel if you have a heart attack or alert you to less severe activity, he said.

In another patent, Google envisions phones serving as individual nodes on a large mesh network that can be used to receive and transmit all kinds of data in all directions, according to Arnold.

Whether Google wants to merely extend its lucrative advertising business model to the wireless space, or whether it wants to create software and services that underlie a multifunction device, there's no doubt the company sees mobile telephony as a vital market.

"Google is a bit anxious about accelerating its mobile market," Sterling said. "Their multifaceted approach with voice applications, the potential (bidding for wireless) spectrum licenses, lobbying on behalf of open networks, the development of software, the potential emergence of a Google Phone, all represents a pretty aggressive push which would suggest that they see urgency here."

Google's threat to bid on the 700MHz wireless spectrum poses a serious threat to mobile telephony carriers who worry that the search company will transmogrify into a service provider. "It feels like Google is trying to be a disruptive force in the cellular industry in the U.S. to potentially drive behavior change," said Derek Brown, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Of course, that's a bit of speculation as well, at least until a Gphone actually turns up in the wild.

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Google GPhone?
Google's wireless plans and its rumored "Gphone" have been the topic of many articles and blogs. We have to take a closer look at several Google initiatives to get a better understanding of what Google's "Master Plan" is really all about.

First of all, few may know that Google is the largest controller of dark fiber in the world. Dark fiber, as defined by Wikipedia, is "the name given to individual fibers that have yet to be used within cables that have been already laid. They are hence not yet connected to any device, and are only there for future usage." Google has been buying up dark fiber since the dotcom collapse of the early 2000s when telcos overbuilt their networks in anticipation of the internet boom. Google's strategy is to build out its own Global IP Network, be less dependent on telcos and save billions of dollars in the long run. By forecasting its bandwidth needs, Google knows that it's not only cost-effective to build out its own Global IP Network, but even more importantly, such a move will give Google full control of its own network infrastructure. This is known as a "vertical integration" strategy that is practiced by many of the world's largest multi-national companies. In fact, Google recently announced that it's planning a multi-terabit undersea communications cable across the Pacific Ocean. The cable will connect the U.S. to Australia via Hawaii, and it's said that it will dramatically cut data transmission cost to many of the Pac Rim countries.

Now that Google has its Global IP Network infrastructure initiative in full gear, what will the company do? Well, Google recently announced that it has set aside $4.6 billion to bid on the upcoming 700MHz wireless auction. The 700MHz wireless spectrum is currently owned by broadcasters and has been used for analog television. The 700MHz spectrum will be highly sought after for it has the unique qualities of long distance transmission and the ability to deliver broadband communications that can penetrate walls. Google recently announced that it may also be interested in bidding on a 900MHz & 1800MHz wireless spectrum in the UK. Google might be planning to start its own mobile service in the UK or establish an open wireless-broadband network as it is trying to do in the U.S.

With its wireless initiatives in play, Google has hired Andy Rubin, founder of Danger and the "Sidekick" to head the 100+ Gphone team. According to Venture capitalist Simeon Simeonov, Google's Gphone is codenamed "Switch" and is using wireless technology from two companies Google acquired, Skia & Reqwireless. Google partnered with Samsung earlier this year, giving it the ability to be a potential distributor/handset maker. Switch is a "BlackBerry-like device," according to Simeonov, running Java on a C++ core with perhaps a Linux bootstrap.

So how do we make "Google Sense" out of all this? Well, I believe that if Google is successful in its bid for the 700MHz wireless spectrum, it will launch some very innovative products and services, one of which will be a wireless IPTV service to the premise via set-top box connected to a $100 Network computer. This computer will have no hard drive; all windows type applications will be hosted on Google's servers. Google has already filed for a patent that will enable users to make payments at stores using their mobile devices. This service is going to be called GPay. Even more compelling, I anticipate Google launching an ad supported mobile "video" phone that will rival Apple's iPhone. If Google is going to become a mobile provider and take on Apple?s iPhone, the company will need to have a compelling service offering. If its bid for the 700MHz wireless spectrum is successful, launching an ad supported video Gphone will not be hard to do. I can see it now, being on a "video call" while ads stream across the bottom of the Gphone screen.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://imediaconnection.com/content/16767.asp" target="_newWindow">http://imediaconnection.com/content/16767.asp</a>
Posted by NevilleColaco (1 comment )
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speculation
pure speculation, but a somewhat educated speculation, based on recent hirings, and patents that the g-phone will be a linux based software voip solution. basically sell you phone and a data plan and you need not pay for anything else. Maybe far fetched, but so is google. A billion plus company based on text ads.
Posted by DrtyDogg (3084 comments )
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Google Phone
After reading Walter Mossberg's recent article in the Wall St. Journal which was an impassioned argument to free cellphones from carriers, I think Google could create a welcome revolution. Their ideas as outlined in your article are really great. Go, Google!
Posted by annlandau (3 comments )
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gPhone overhyped
gPhone, if debuted, won't be ubiquitous.
Reasons are
1) Google is a minor in Asian markets, like China, Korea and Japan. I wonder if Google can
pursue its dominance in mobile multimedia in view of cladogentic evolution of mobile broadband equipment,applications and services.

2) Cultural and liguisitic barriers.
3) Content divide between emerging markets and digitally mature markets.
4) In location-based service, which will constitute the core of mobile multimedia, Google's web search dominance won't be easy to retain.
5) fierece competiton lurking ahead. It is a cloudy landscape, when it comes to the first generation of LBS. The 2nd generation of LBS will
shift its domain to vehicle dashtops.
Posted by Quemannn (76 comments )
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ANTSY ABOUT THE "GPHONE?" BE COOL - IT WILL FIND YOU!
In the past 2 weeks I've done some personal and business shopping on the Internet, with the help of GOOGLE. Not only did I find what I was seraching for, I found these products in my own home town, bottom buck prices, sufficient varieties, awesome values, and in two of the searches, before I entered the "key words" GOOGLE'S product search, provided me with the query results before I clicked "GO." How in GOD'S name is this possible - how can any mechanical, alphanumeric formula think and give me the results BEFORE I ORDER IT TO SWING AWAY? This tehcnology, or real time Nostradamus Ingenuity gives me GOOGLE FLESH. I tingle - I fill up with a wholesomeness that almost brings tears to my eyes. How is this possible? How can a search engine know in advance exactly what I am searching for?

With this type of mystical, magical power to see the future, I for one, want the GPhone, however, I'm not going to get ANTSY about this device because knowing what I already know about GOOGLE their device will FIND ME.

I read this article very carefully, and the most astonishing "tricks" of what is on the GOOGLE Horizon is the GPhone's ability to monitor Heart, Pulse, and save lives.

SHOW ME ONE F----ING (EXPLETIVE DELETED) MOBILE DEVICE THAT CAN DO THAT TODAY UNLESS CONTROLLED BY A HUMAN BEING WHEN CALLING 911. THAT'S IT - THEY LOOK COOL, THEY'VE GOT THE RIGHT TAGS ON THEM FROM FASHION HOUSES, AND OTHER MADISON AVENUE PROMOTIONS, BUT WHAT DO THESE DEVICES REALLY DO, BESIDES SENDING DATA AND MAKING A PHONE CALL WITH ALL THE ADDED HOOPLAH?

As for Voice Recognition - I can see the future. Corporations are already putting packages together featuring separate devices that SPEAK YOUR PROPER LANGUAGE AND CAN BE HELD NEXT TO THE SPEAKER IN ORDER TO ENSURE A TIGHT AND AUTHENTIC ROBOT TO ROBOT COMMUNICATION. OTHER CORPORATIONS ARE PUTTING TOGETHER ACCESSORY PACKAGES INCLUDING THE THE 'SPIT TUNE" - which is a package of alcohol based wipes in order for the user, the caller, to clean off the speaker on his/her cell phone after using Voice Recognition to say the following "Option TWO, my account is TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TWO TEN!"

So, as Voice Recognition continues its worldwide growth, and mistakes happen, and we all have to LEARN to SPEAK PROPERLY TO THE ROBOT BEHIND OUR HANDS.........WHAT IS REALLY NEEDED?

Answer: A GPhone that is enabled to remember what YOU SOUND LIKE when you say numbers, your name, your accounts, your address, your date of birth, the end result being that the ROBOT behind your hand will be listening to a PROPER RECORDING of your voice, stored in the new GPhone. AND, you will activate each Digital recording of your data in PROPER LANGUAGE by selecting a keypad number. SIMPLE - EFFECTIVE - PRECISE - NO MEDALS - JUST INGENUITY and PRACTICAL.

BUT WAIT! Did you ask what happens if the Gphone is lost, will anyone be able to access your stored information and make a call to the bank using your stored data and voice recognition. Will never happen, because a true Gphone will be able to sense your skin, your fingerprints, your pulse, and in the hands of any other person, will be disabled.

FIND ME GPhone - I'm READY!

Thank you for this opportunity to TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK TALKBACK - this has been a recording.
Posted by FO-FI_FO_454 (25 comments )
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Bring on the GPhone!
This coupled with Google's buying that radio spectrum and forcing cell phone carriers to unlock their phones and allow people to download whatever they want and use the phones on whatever carrier they want really makes me want to see a GPhone. Google would be the coolest cell phone carrier ever. We would be able to use the phones online just like we do our PCs, with no restrictions on what we could download or what sites we could visit.
Posted by OmegaWolf747 (431 comments )
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Eric Schmidt is the biggest Mafia puppet in the US. He is bad news for apple users. http://endmafia.com
Posted by geo11101 (76 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think I wouldn't mind trying a google phone. Would you be able to use it as a <a href="http://www.californiaseopros.com/about/">search engine optimizer</a>?
Posted by bills8091 (4 comments )
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