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Google Phone Rumors Solidifying

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-a-pony dept.

Google 90

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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411 (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972823)

"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?"

Re:411 - GPhone Images (1)

lonester23 (1123115) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976649)

Interesting find regarding the GPhone: http://www.freagair.com/swapoid/p/search/102040/6/ [freagair.com]

Re:411 - GPhone Images (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20980265)

Looks like a Nokia with a rainbow faceplate.

even better (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972831)

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]

Re:even better (1)

epgandalf (105735) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974339)

Anyone else notice that this roundup is from August 28th? I wouldn't exactly call this news.

Re:even better (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974639)

O.G. Phone - is that a phone specific for Original Gangsters [ogangsters.com] or maybe this set of Original Gangsters [wikipedia.org] (sorry Swedish site)? :-)

Re:even better (1)

Diehardchiefs (1171967) | more than 6 years ago | (#20978737)

hey, great... (3, Insightful)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:hey, great... (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972853)

erm... i meant: let me honour this with a little dance of celebration.

my enthusiasm went riot, sorry.

Re:hey, great... (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973789)

are you talking about the dance of joy? [youtube.com]

Re:hey, great... (1)

gregleimbeck (975759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20975391)

No.

Re:hey, great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20976637)

now i can have all my sms and phone calls archived.

They already are and have been for year and years now. Law enforcement uses them all the time in investigations. They have been at the heart of many D.C. scandals over the last several years. Are you really this out of touch?

Well, the good news is, there are people more out of touch than you. After all, someone modded your comment "+1 Insightful". ;)

Re:hey, great... (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 6 years ago | (#20979313)

i'm sorry to inform you, but according to german law (which is where i live) it's unlawful to archive sms.

Die Speicherung von SMS-Inhalten ist rechtswidrig und verstößt gegen das Fernmeldegeheimnis.
which, roughly translated, means: the storage of sms contents is illegal and violates the Fernmeldegeheimnis (the secrecy of telecommunications).

Re:hey, great... (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985471)

...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 there are interesting things there).

AFAIK SPICE/Multisim cost a few hundred dollars, even for personal use. Or it doesn't I don't really know; I haven't looked into it because if I'm in a lab there are fewer distractions than on my home PC. Anyways, point is it placed an ad for a free SPICE clone version (personal; paid for commercial) in that sponsored links section that I clicked through and was able to download this mini-SPICE for free.

Pretty useful IMO.

Competition for the iPhone? (5, Insightful)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Competition for the iPhone? (2, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972985)

Trolltech one is cool but waaaay to expensive.

In other news both my phones where 250 and 350 sek each.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973071)

"Trolltech one is cool but waaaay to expensive."

Run QTopia on a Neo1973, if you can get one... (current version is something like $300 - $450)

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974471)

One word: GPRS-only. Translation: slow as molasses in February.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20975037)

Molasses is faster than you think [wikipedia.org] , at least in January. 21 killed, 150 injured.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 6 years ago | (#20975421)

"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.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976239)

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.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976435)

"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.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (3, Insightful)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 :)

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973299)

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

Your bulletproof argument has convinced me.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973943)

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 marketing, everybody else has been paying for it with google ad/spam words. At the moment of course that marketing has started to give a slightly off odour as the privacy invasiveness is no longer appreciated and the tolerance for it is waning.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20977731)

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!

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20980241)

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 to have anything to do with, that nasty little dobbers ( http://www.australianhistory.org/australian-slang-atod.php [australianhistory.org] ) that passed on your dirt to all and sundry. Well deep down, no matter how matter how much corporate profit your wrap up in it, that's all that google is, it ain't tinfoil hat stuff, it's just pathetic anal retentive stuff.

The gphone, the only phone that you will never have to program in contacts, it already 'knows' all your contacts, their nicknames, their birthdays, and for only a small additional cost, all their private dirt, be the envy of the professional paranoid, that's G-Man to you ;).

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (2, Interesting)

saigon_from_europe (741782) | more than 6 years ago | (#20980557)

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 monster pages like Yahoo!, MSN).

Also, there is one big reason why I think that in long term Google will do better (although I believe they take more risky approach). They have more open-minded business model. In mentioned GMail, they gave me everything I wanted. For free. I used their system as my spam filter. No revenue for them. But in the long term, that payed off (I use their web interface regularly now). They are not greedy in that short-sighted manner like Apple is. They seem feature friendly to the user.

Apple is old business done right. Google is new business (note that I did not say that this is necessarily "done right").

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973205)

I see the OpenMoko has gone from the consumer version being available in October to the being available "around year's end". Looks like it's a dead project, and they won't even make the christmas market. Oh well. It was a nice idea. Most geeky types probably wouldn't shell out the $$$$ for the development version.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973335)

You can buy the phone now. What you won't get is consumer grade software for the phone in the finished state. It's not dead, it's just that the software development is taking longer then expected. I have never seen a project completed on time anyway.

In any case if the phone isn't a success not to worry you can use the Moko's software on other phones. I was reading about how a Chinese hacker got Moko running on his A1200, so it's not a total loss and everything is under the GPL anyway.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (2, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973209)

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.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (5, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (3, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Competition for the iPhone? (3, Insightful)

sc0ob5 (836562) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973425)

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 exactly cutting edge. When I spend ridiculous amounts of money on a phone I want it to at least be upto date with all the other phones out there that use closed source OSes. Perhaps google can do all of these things, 3G network capable, HSDPA, english, open, available. I'm not really big on the whole advertising thing though, I'd gladly pay for a phone with all of the above without the advertising.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974589)

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:Competition for the iPhone? (2, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20975149)

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, etc etc, as opposed to almost all other phones out there that simply display your number as a string of digits. Small elegances and conveniences go a long way into making your product more polished and wanted.

People are sick a tired of half-assed phone UIs, and while it works reasonably well that most people won't change, when presented with a cheaper alternative (which isn't the iPhone at the moment) they will jump ship in droves. I would hope for Nokia, Motorola, and Sony's sake that they've got better UIs in the labs right now.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#20980057)

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 Apple store after Steve borked it. He's seriously anti-hacker. My Neo1973 shows up today, and I'm gonna use spare cycles to make cool apps you can no longer run on iPhone - like an e-book reader, and maybe help out with the GPS apps, or dial-by-voice.

To really knock out iPhone, the default OS has to rock. I'd guess that it will only take a few dozen coders 6-9 months to pull this off... a team Google can easily afford. Here's my wish-list [billrocks.org] for OpenMoko. Same goes for gPhone. Core functionality like this would leave iPhone in the dust... and if it's open to hackers, it'll rock the world.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1, Interesting)

doti (966971) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973219)

But how much open will be that?

Will I be able to use it without my data going through Google routers?

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20974683)

But how much open will be that?

Me fail English? That's unpossible.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (4, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973325)

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.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (4, Insightful)

Echnin (607099) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974037)

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.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974445)


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 advantage to let anyone run 3rd party apps because they think it'll cut into profits. Historically it's not a lot different from Ma Bell, who didn't allow 3rd party phones to be attached to "their" phone network until sometime in the late 70s/early 80s.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976163)

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 MS exchange app would swing the doors open for business users being able to switch to the iPhone.

Re:Competition for the iPhone? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973693)

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 emails, etc. and it is cheap and/or free, as opposed to $600, and supports 3G bandwidth, etc. then it will utterly trounce the iPhone.

Manna for the AI (5, Funny)

Sub Zero 992 (947972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972913)

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.

Re:Manna for the AI (0)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972963)

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 as they can be, they still can't make a Skynet type AI. In case you don't know, that kind of AI has been pretty much shiting up for the last 30 years.

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

Re:Manna for the AI (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973685)

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

cmputAs dat spk txt

Re:Manna for the AI (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974907)

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.

Re:Manna for the AI (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20977439)

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.

Re:Manna for the AI (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976757)

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.

Count me in! (5, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Count me in! (2, Interesting)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973011)

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]

Re:Count me in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973069)

As do SE K750i and a couple of other Sony Ericsson models..

Re:Count me in! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20979655)

In fact, that (and a very tinny loudspeaker compared to my old K700i) are my only gripes with my new W880i. The 700 didn't have the explicit 'turn flashlight on' mode that the 750 did but it still had the light, I just turned it on via the camera page.

Then again the LCD itself is bright enough to see reasonably well by in a dark room if your eyes are adjusted.

Re:Count me in! (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974103)

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 fact that I can check e-mail browse the web and so forth with the Razr, but the screen is too small to get much out of it (and the iPhone, to me isn't that much of an improvement, I have a Nokia N800 that serves about the same function as the iPhone in that regard).

My main use for a phone is, uh, talking on the phone, and unless I'm in a run down diner on the Interstate in the middle of nowhere, I'm not all that far from being able to check my mail and read the news on a real computer. Like most cell phone users I also own a laptop that does just fine in most Wifi locations.

All that to say, there may be a gPhone that competes with the iPhone, but iPhone users have shown that money isn't the issue with them. They'll stand in line to pay exorbitant prices for an untested product just for the status alone, and I'm sure many of them would do the same even if an equivalent service were available for free.

If the eventual gPhone has none of the features of the iPhone it will serve as a business-model-ending device for pay as you go services as Tracfone T-mobile, etc. Millions of people will buy them for emergency phones in the car, for their kids to take to school, for a spare when the battery on the iPhone dies, and so on. A dirt-cheap (production wise) phone will be almost as big a hit as an "iPhone killer".

Devil in these details: How will ads be presented? In the iPhone format, on the screen of course, possibly annoying the hell out of you while you are trying to do something else. On an N1100 type device, maybe you would hear a 5 second ad at the start of a call you make, and your callers could be subjected to such a thing too. Tying up a real 10-digit phone number costs money. I don't know how much, but it isn't zero. A totally free phone will have an issue with rapidly using up these number for (as mentioned above) phones that get stored in a car and rarely used. Maybe such a device will have a two step process to call. (1) call an 800 number (provided by Google) followed by (2) an internal ID to get to the phone. This could tie in with the GrandCentral acquisition (which I'm already using and impressed with). Finally, an "iPhone Killer" phone that is free, has a large display and other state of the art features is going to be treated like any other free thing, carelessly. It will be subject to all sorts of physical abuse and people will be ordering replacements like they are dim-sum. What could have marginally been an ad-supported device could quickly become a sink-hole for any company who tries it.

So, as usual, I think many of they "analysts" have their heads up their asses and are either dreaming, or engaging in typical stir up rumors to pump up the stock price tactics. Oh they wouldn't do that would they?

Regardless, when the gPhone does arrive, if it arrives, I hope it has a flashlight too.

Re:Count me in! (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20975629)

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? :)

Re:Count me in! (1)

djtachyon (975314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973475)

A lot of phones have a built in flashlight, it's called the camera flash. Use it on my Motorola Q all the time ;)

Post references outdated/old articles (4, Interesting)

acaeti (770512) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

emergency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972965)

I for one am looking forward to hearing banner ads when i need to make that ever important 000 call while I lie dying in a pool of blood. Well at least they'll use my last words for advertising statics. Might come in handy the next time I call after that...

Come on guys, stop and think (5, Insightful)

Nomen Publicus (1150725) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Come on guys, stop and think (4, Interesting)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 6 years ago | (#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...

Re:Come on guys, stop and think (1)

rudlavibizon (948703) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976353)

I doubt it will be skype, gtalk has a better voip IMHO.

Re:Come on guys, stop and think (1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973937)

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.

Re:Come on guys, stop and think (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974309)

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.

ho80 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973079)

surv,eys show that ass of the8 all,

fucK 4 cock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973251)

consumer-level? (5, Insightful)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (5, Insightful)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973421)

It will be amusing on a certain level if Google, which has been termed a potential 'Microsoft killer,' instead kills Apple.

Re:consumer-level? (0)

larkost (79011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973455)

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 EDGE and WiFi. Check.

maps: Yep, EDGE and Wifi again. Check.

reader: Sadly the iPhone does not have a direct RSS reader, but you can always use any of the web-based ones.

talk: I assume you mean instant messaging, and there is a little problem with keeping a data connection open all the time. It drains the battery fast. I have done this on my Palm, and was unsurprised that it is not in the iPhone. I don't see a way around this with current technology.

maybe more: maybe not.

Re:consumer-level? (3, Informative)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (4, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:consumer-level? (1)

walter_f (889353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974933)

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 been a considerable proportion of newbie and non-technical users who wanted to have "Internet", remember?). I presume that their number is growing...

Re:consumer-level? (1)

xant (99438) | more than 6 years ago | (#20976587)

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:consumer-level? (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20977237)

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 using 25 year old technology).

What happens is that the technology that Apple uses and it's customers are willing to pay for soon becomes cheap enough for commodity manufacturers to make and commodity computer makers to use. For most computer manufacturers, they will till any features it their computer that is cheap, rather than trying to design a useful machine. This is why so many computer have 4 in 1 readers but no firewire port. In any case, Apple does not say ahead of this curve, for instance they didn't seem to anticipate that every computer would have a high performance dedicated graphics processor, one Apple greatest advantages for a long time.

They seemed to have learned the lesson with iPod, and are updating it often to stay ahead of cheap imitators. So while MS will come out with gratuitous wireless, Apple pushes the hard disk capacity. Hopefully the same will happen with iPhone. The phone people are coming out with competitive phones, and the google software, with no license requirements, and ad support, might allow the phones to be significantly cheaper than iPhone. but likely will not have the full features of iPhone. In any case, the fact that a google phone is inherently intrusive will mean that the market will likely be limited to those that would not get an iPhone as they would not afford it, which is why they choose the ad supported option.

Really, if the iPhone faces a risk from google, it is because Apple made a decision not to be consumer friendly on this product. All the consumer hostile press that Apple has taken may convince some users that risk posed by the google phone is not significantly greater than the risk posed by apple.

Re:consumer-level? (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20980133)

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 split between Mac, Atari, Amiga, and several other systems.

but likely will not have the full features of iPhone

Yeah, it won't have multi-touch. Other than that, as far as I can tell, it will have a lot more features than the iPhone. Heck, my 2 year old Nokia does everything the iPhone does and then some.

it is because Apple made a decision not to be consumer friendly on this product

I see: even when Apple makes a consumer un-friendly device, it's on purpose.

Re:consumer-level? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20991157)

Of course we all know that Apple was just one of many with a GUI in 1984. Amiga was about a year late, and never had the penetration that the Mac did, even though it was arguably a superior OS. Most early adopters, i.e. those that wanted Excel, learned on the Mac.

The graphics thing is a prime example of the point. The GUI was the thing that drove the dedicated graphics processor, something that Apple always had good support for(shape tables), but was only an accessory for the IBM PC and derivatives. Sure the Amiga and Atari has graphics, but they did not have Lotus 123, or Excel. As the prices of the chips dropped, and the demand for a GUI increased, more computers added this functionality.

The point remains. The google phone was not in response to any existing mobile phone technology, but in response to a changing mobile phone environment, of which Apple is a part. By the time the Google phone comes out, the technologies will be cheap enough to use on a commodity phone. I really don't know what all these fancy phones can do because I do not own one. I like functional things and so I just own a functional mobile phone that connects easily to my computer.

And yes apple does appear to be pretty deterministic. Features fall in and out of the Mac much faster than other computers, presumable because Jobs, or whoever, controls the computer. Loss of SCSI on the Mac, firwire on the iPod, cyberdog was promoted then vanished almost overnight.When Apple wants to do something, it usually does no matte how much the customers complain. It is a downside of the computer. OTOH, the computer is not hindered by support for 20 year old technology. Half full or half empty, depending on your view. On phones I am half empty.

Re:consumer-level? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20991327)

Amiga was about a year late, and never had the penetration that the Mac did,

Apple's market share was comparable to that of Amiga and Atari combined, at times a little ahead, at times a little behind (here [arstechnica.com] ). And as soon as Microsoft Windows came out, all of those were negligible. To say that the "average" consumer was introduced to the GUI by Apple is simply false.

The GUI was the thing that drove the dedicated graphics processor, something that Apple always had good support for(shape tables)

Shape tables were purely software, and so was the Mac toolbox. Trying to create hardware that was compatible with Apple's idiosyncratic graphics software was hard, which was why it took Apple a long time to get accelerated graphics.

The point remains. The google phone was not in response to any existing mobile phone technology, but in response to a changing mobile phone environment, of which Apple is a part. By the time the Google phone comes out, the technologies will be cheap enough to use on a commodity phone.

I have had a touch screen phone with a high resolution screen for 1/3 the price of the iPhone for a couple of years. Apple has done nothing to drive down the cost or add functionality, and their carrier locked model and closed OS are steps backwards compared to Palm, Nokia, and Microsoft. Apple did not prepare the market for Google. Apple didn't even invent the sleek touch screen phone and they weren't even first to market (LG was).

OTOH, the computer is not hindered by support for 20 year old technology.

That is exactly what the computer is hindered by, given that OS X is built around NeXT's Objective-C and OpenStep technologies, software from 1987 whose basic design and architecture has not changed much (at least Objective-C 2.0 adds garbage collection).

Features fall in and out of the Mac much faster than other computers,

This is a good thing on balance in my opinion. They also have great designers and a killer marketing team. But they are not particularly innovative or visionary. And when it looks like they are "leading the industry", it's usually simply that they have been working on the same stuff as everybody else and they get to market a little earlier because they have less backwards compatibility to worry about and don't mind breaking standards.

gPhone for gMen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973405)

Is the gPhone made for gMen or do they just listen to it?

Better not call it... (2, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973787)

...the gSpot, otherwise
a) noone will believe it exists
b) if they do, no one will be able to find it.

Re:Better not call it... (1)

epgandalf (105735) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974269)

The gSpot already exists. Google bought JotSpot last year at the same time they bought YouTube.

How about (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973989)

"we don't give a fuck"?

Commoditization of the telecom industry (2, Informative)

rukidding (931503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974365)

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 to attract new players to compete with the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world. Soon I see wireless plans being more of a commodity. The wireless protocol or company will matter very little to the consumer. Price will become the main factor in determining the wireless company a consumer uses. The devices and the content you can get to on it will be the main attractions to most consumers. It seems to me Apple and Google understand this very well.

Sounds Like Yahoo Go (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974381)

So far this sounds like Yahoo Go [yahoo.com] , maybe with an RSS aggregator built-in as well.

Re:Sounds Like Yahoo Go (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20974477)

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 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20975291)

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 them another huge source for advertising revenue. My theory is based on several things Google has been taking an interest in. The first one, other than the GPhone itself, is Google's interest in the 700MHz band being auctioned off by the FCC. With this in mind, I have very little doubt the GPhone will work in this area of the spectrum.

There are some other things Google has been doing help to bring this all home. For example, have you tried Goog411? If not, visit Http://www.google.com/goog411/. Why would Google be so interested in a telephone 411 application? Well, if you have a mobile phone which can receive Google Maps, Google Information, and (of course) Google Advertisements, then you have a potentially profitable revenue stream.

Taking this to the next level, Google has always had a very strong interest in providing free WiFi to metropolitan areas. While this has proven to be less-than practical to implement, I think Google still would like to see some form of wireless communications which is free to access by the masses. Don't forget, Google is sitting on a very large network of unused fiber optics. If Google wins the 700MHz spectrum, establishes access points linked by their fiber network, and provides mobile communications with the GPhone, Google will be in a position to collect HUGE truck-loads of money from advertisers.

Scenario :
You use GPhone and Goog411 to call a hardware store. Google sends you a map (to your GPhone via Google Maps). On the map, other advertisers have their stores listed along the route AND Google is sending you additional advertisements related to hardware. Over time, the GPhone will have accumulated certain trends, based on the calls you make, and custom advertisements are sent to your phone - maybe even GPhone-Only coupons to be used at participating retailers.

http://williamfink.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Qtopia... (1)

dadragon (177695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20975435)

I'm still waiting for a Qtopia based CDMA smartphone.

It makes sense to me (1)

jacoby (3149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20977313)

Why have Vint Cerf on the payroll if you weren't going to try to do something crazy innovative with internetworking?

gPhone!? (1)

Gotebe (887221) | more than 6 years ago | (#20979615)

With that name, it won't sell if it doesn't vibrate.
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