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Verizon Might Deliver Google Phone

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-no-wait-i-thought-it-wasn't-real dept.

Google 115

MrCrassic writes "There are talks floating around surrounding Google's possible talks with Verizon and possibly T-Mobile to establish an agreement for the carrier to deliver phones carrying Google's speculated mobile operating system. According to the article, one of the main hurdles slowing down the product are concerns about user privacy and advertising, one of Google's well-renowned strengths. With over 6 million customers potentially at their disposal, could this be "the deal" that establishes Google's hegemony in the internet sphere?"

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Mobile phones + do no evil? (3, Insightful)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183789)

Are these two concepts even remotely compatible?
In any event, I look forward to seeing this mobile OS from google, and I do hope they don't get too tightly wrapped in all that is evil about mobile phones.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (1)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183829)

Speaking of evil... what does bill think of all this mess?

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (2, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184125)

I think Bill is effectively retired, enjoying his money, and doing charity work for the good of the world. If he weren't, he'd have already done some of the things Google could do for cell phones.

I have to say, I can hardly wait! A open linux based dev platform for phones with the backing and vision of Google could be huge. For example, I want to be able to say "Find a Chinese restaurant" to the phone, and have Google maps show me the nearest three. I want to the touch one of them with my finger, and have my phone turn into a GPS to route me there. That's just one dumb idea... the possibilities are enormous, as is the potential add revenue for Google. Imagine when you can buy location-based Google words... for example "Chinese restaurant", but only within 15 miles. Or how about sorting searches by distance as well as relevance? Google could own the world.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184625)

Evil billing? That's AT&T.

I'm conflicted. There was a slashdot article about some evil or another Verizon was doing, and I'm looking for a new cell phone provider (AT&T's takeover of Cingular caused me far more problems than I wish to get into here).

I asked slashdotters for suggestions, and Verizon seemed to not be very well liked. But now they;re teaming up with Google.

Plus, my tenant and her boyfriend were over the other night, and he has a really cool phone, It's a small clamshell that will fit in a pocket and opens up with a QWERTY keyboard, has MP3 capabilities, and he can upload the MP3s from his computer and all sorts of other cool features.

I'm still looking for cell phone provider suggestions; I'm using a fifteen dollar Net10 phone right now.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185775)

A lot of people are satisfied with t-mobile. What you do is get one of the "free" phones from them, then go and get whatever unlocked GSM phone you want -- I picked up a moto a780 for less than 200, and it works great with my t-mobile sim.

So far they seem to have the most responsive customer service i've dealt with (was on nextel before). Only thing that bugs me is they don't have any way of blocking SMS spam (unless it is sent to your t-mobile email account, then you can put filters on that one). Of course, i've only gotten sms spam once every couple of months though.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (4, Funny)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183855)

Maybe Google will make them never ring in public places and inform the user when they're talking too loudly :)

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184111)

So it'll hang up on you if you say "Can you hear me now?" Verizon won't be too happy about that...

DON'T BE EVIL (not do no evil) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21186443)

"Do no evil" is not Google's motto. That's a good thing too, because "Do no evil" is outright impossible.

One can occasionally do evil (perhaps by accident) and still not be considered to "be" evil (were reparations made? Is ongoing effort to avoid it in the future being made)?

So, "don't be evil" is much easier to live up to, though still just as much of a morally relativistic judgment call.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (2, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185869)

My hope is Google will not allow the parent companies to work with third party scam companies that blind text kids with messages which if they reply to it automatically sign them up for monthly subscription plans to lame jokes and crap like that.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, see my journal.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21188023)

About your journal..
My daughter signed up for something that charged $5.95/month. I called Sprint and they described how to unsubscribe from it, gave me a refund, and I was able to block 5 digit SMS addresses from being sent from her phone. The service she signed up for either accidentally or intentionally, was not a Sprint offered service either.
Taking away her 5 digit SMS capability was a little extreme because she will loose access to legitimate services that do not gouge but she can unblock it when she pays for the phone service.

Maybe me experience was an isolated case but the entire thing was handled in one phone call and took less then 10 minutes of my time.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (1)

lavid (1020121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183859)

On top of the inherent evil of mobile phones, there's the evil that is ".002 cents" Verizon []
I hope these talks do not come to a partnership of any kind.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (2, Informative)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183953)

The video that summary ultimately links to has been removed. Apparently for a terms of use violation... I wonder exactly what it violated?

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183961)

I'm more concerned about the potential collision of Verizon + Do No Evil... A paradoxical combination like this could rip a hole in the space-time continuum.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? Only IF.... (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183991)

It won't be evil if they sell phones like they sell computers. I should be able to put any software I want on the phone. I should be able to contract a service provider to connect me to the cell/phone/internet network using unencumbered protocols.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184363)

This is one reason I'm skeptical of getting fios service.

The phone companies really should be in the business of selling commodity bandwidth. No, I don't want your friggen' music video service, I want to access the video service I choose. The problem is that you don't make larger than normal profits selling commodities.

So instead, the phone companies do everything they can to make comparing their prices and service impossible. Their bills are full of portentous sounding charges, and they bury things anybody would really want to know, like whether your phone has the Bluetooth profiles it needs to connection your laptop to the Internet, under piles of crap services nobody in their right mind would buy. I'm convinced those services don't have to make money, they just have to make the decision of which carrier to choose more confusing.

Then there is simply the practice of making "mistakes" on how the bill is calculated, counting on the fact that the bill is structured to be confusing to help them get away with it. I just added a second line to my wife's Verizon mobile service, which involved upgrading to a more expensive plan. They "pro-rated" her service for the month by crediting out the cheaper service, and back dating the more expensive service to the start of the month. For good measure they added a couple of completely unexplained gobbledygook charges that doubled the bill. I'm going to have to spend hours dealing with this, hours of my life I have much better use for and which I'll never get back.

That's why I'm chary of getting fios, even though it looks better on paper. I don't want Verizon to be my content vendor in any case, and they've been underhanded as a bandwidth vendor. As bad as Comcast is, my experiences with Verizon have been worse. If I'd never dealt with them before, I'd have jumped with fios, that looks cheaper and faster on paper. For now it looks better to let my bandwidth hog neighbors jump into long term fios contracts and stay put at least until the DOCSIS 3 stuff is rolled out.

If Google jumps into bed with Verizon, it's an interesting choice; I'm not sure whether any of the vendors are better or worse with respect to being evil, but Verizon is making a major push to become a content vendor. Evil or not, this is not an outfit that is interested in letting net neutrality survive; but Google has up until now built a business around net neutrality. Google is everything AOL was supposed to be to the consumer, except that it's all about access to the universe of other peoples' content. We should look very carefully at whatever deal Google cuts with the carriers, because a shift away from philosophy could be a step towards leveraging their search monopoly into a content distribution monopoly.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (4, Interesting)

geeknado (1117395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185259)

Like many providers, your experience with different vendors is going to vary by locality. Here, Comcast is totally disfunctional as a conseqeunce of multiple ownership changes to the local cable franchise...It's been, over the course of the last 10 years, Comcast, Cox, AT&T, and now Comcast again. The surrounding counties followed a similar, but disparate pattern. As a consequence, their systems aren't even integrated properly from a customer service perspective, and the maintenance of the infrastructure is not what it should be.

All this leads to Verizon being a better choice here than it might be in some areas. Also, and again, this may be a local thing, but the FIOS service division is totally distinct from the 'normal' Verizon service structure you usually encounter. Different techs, at any rate-- they're much better trained, and reports are that the service is extremely reliable. It's only just become available in my neighborhood, though, so I can't speak firsthand...Although it's being installed tomorrow, so we'll see.

I dunno, neither Comcast nor Verizon has its hands clean as far as most of the 'evil' sorts of issues the Slashdot "we" care about. Comcast throttles services, Verizon complies with the gov't on domestic wiretaps...You're pretty much boned either way.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188921)

I only have Verizon FIOS and Comcast as two viable choices for internet. Comcast caps bandwidth and blocks torrent connections and my tv lost signal more than once a month which I find unacceptable for repeated cable outages. (Lose the TV and the Internet, and if you use their VOIP service, you lose that too) So far Verizon doesn't care how much I download, doesn't block torrent and I haven't lost TV, Internet or Phone once since I switched not only that but the image quality is much better vs Comcast. Yes YMMV but so far Verizon has been the better choice. Will Comcast upgrade their system and offer higher speeds, maybe, but Verizon can easily increase their speeds too.

Sure, they may rip out of the copper out of the ground cutting out CLECs but those were never a viable option for me, and I doubt the next occupant of this house really would care, let alone even know that Covad exists.

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189371)

I'm convinced those services don't have to make money, they just have to make the decision of which carrier to choose more confusing.

See Confusopoly [] .

Re:Mobile phones + do no evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21187227)

In light of the Google & Verizon talks reported by the WSJ,
a offspring or cross-breed by those two companies should
appropriately be coined GoogleRizon.

The name has a nice ring to it. Like the ring of cash registers
ringing up sales. It also seems to be the relevant word
combination for the names of the two companies cited in
the WSJ article. Plus.... It has a nice play on words, in light
of the fact that only a few days ago Google's stock price was
near the $600 range and today, it is valued closed to $700/share.

Personally I feel the best is yet to come for Google.
Given the ad-supported free mobile phone business strategy,
they are establishing a "I am all to you" perception in the eye of
the public. The other telecoms best jump on board this opportunity
before it pass them by.

Shannon McPherson is a Bryn Mawr College student social activist
that is campaigning for the use of ad-supported free mobile phone
and Internet services to decrease the digital divide.

Get a Move On (5, Funny)

jlf278 (1022347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183815)

What's taking so long? Google and Verizon please hurry up and introduce a sleek new phone to compete with the iPhone so my wife will stop nagging me to pay the early termination fee on her verizon contract. It's in all our best interests a true win/win/win.

Re:Get a Move On (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184163)

I'm not an expert on cell phone tech, but can't you just get an iPhone and unlock it to run on whatever network carrier you use?

Re:Get a Move On (5, Informative)

paintballer1087 (910920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184291)

Verizon is a CDMA network, whereas AT&T/Cingular is a GSM Network, the phones are incompatible with each other. The iPhone can only be unlocked on GSM networks. Here's an article that explaines the difference in the two types of networks: []

Re:Get a Move On (4, Funny)

Pascoea (968200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186729)

I think you missed the point of his post. I would assume (hopefully correctly) that the majority of the people here know the difference between CDMA and GSM. If you don't already know the difference, maybe this article could be of some use. How to jump from a moving car [] []

Re:Get a Move On (1)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184419)

They're incompatible: Verizon uses the CDMA protocol (analogue) while most other American carriers use GSM (digital).

I think... I'm not an expert either!

Re:Get a Move On (2, Informative)

ksattic (803397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184519)

Both are digital.

Re:Get a Move On (5, Informative)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184615)

My contention is that Google is simply incompatible with Verizon, protocols aside, verizon wireless has a long history of imposing ultimatums onto phone manufacturers and software publishers. Motorola is a great example, a verizon Razr only has about half the features as one that you buy from Motorola. Google maps mobile doesn't work on CDMA phones because none of the carriers (Verizon specifically) will let anyone make any kind of navigation software for a phone that the user doesn't have to pay a premium membership for. The list goes on and on, can't put Java on a verizon phone because *gasp* the user may be able to play games for free on their own piece of hardware! Or worse yet, write some piece of software specifically for themselves.

Re:Get a Move On (2, Informative)

nuba (660398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21187295)

All those things work on their higher end phones like the Treo. A phone from google would probably be in the same category.

Google Maps works on CDMA (1)

klossner (733867) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188341)

Google maps mobile doesn't work on CDMA phones because none of the carriers (Verizon specifically)
Yes, Verizon sucks, so I bought my CDMA Treo 755p [] from Sprint [] . Google maps is included and integrated with the phone's other applications [] .

Re:Google Maps works on CDMA (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189311)

Ditto, I have the HTC Mogul with Sprint. I just wish I had built-in GPS receiver to take full advantage of Google Maps, but I still use it a lot regardless.

Re:Get a Move On (1)

The Mad Debugger (952795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184837)

Not quite. CDMA is a digital technology, and it is actually superior (in terms of capacity) to the digital TDMA technology used in GSM. UMTS, the 3G "evolution" of GSM actually uses a CDMA radio interface as well, though the channel structure is different, so it is not compatible with the thing that Verizon, etc, use either. This is why UMTS is sometimes called WCDMA (Wideband CDMA).

Verizon, Sprint, and a bunch of other smaller US operators (US Cellular, etc) use CDMA (they use CDMA 1xRTT for voice and CDMA 1xEV-DO for high-speed data).

AT&T wireless (formerly Cingular) uses GSM as its main technology, and they are in the process of rolling out a nation-wide UMTS network. Most major cities currently have coverage.

T-Mobile in the US also uses GSM, but I haven't heard that they are planning any significant UMTS rollout just yet.

The 4G technologies (WiMAX, LTE, UMB) will ditch CDMA, and use another radio interface called OFDM, which is also digital, and, in theory, has even better capacity than CDMA.

Re:Get a Move On (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184925)

They are both Digital.
Cingular/AT&T and TMobil use GSM.
Verison, Sprint, and I think Alltel use CDMA.
So it is a pretty even split between CDMA and GSM in the US so no most other US carriers don't use GSM.
And both or digital.
As to which is better I vote for CDMA. The new high speed version of GSM is moving to a more CDMA like system but for the the big reason I like CDMA better is whenever anyone in my office uses a GSM phone I can hear interference on my PC speakers!

Re:Get a Move On (1)

Inanition85 (984138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186549)

Alltel does indeed use the CDMA network, all of their phones are exact clones of Verizon phones (or vice versa, not sure if it's the chicken or the egg that comes first).

Re:Get a Move On (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21186015)

I'm no expert either, but I still know my apples from my oranges; and you sir are a banana.

Re:Get a Move On (1)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186041)

The iPhone is a GSM handset (for now at least), I'm assuming the GP means he wants to keep his Verizon (CDMA) service...the two network types aren't compatible.

Re:Get a Move On (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184391)

I second this plea. I'm stuck with Verizon as well (my work uses it)... but if I schmooze enough, come next summer, I should be able to schmooze my way to a free Google phone! Woohoo!

Actually, 3 US Networks (5, Informative)

VengefulCynic (824720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183821)

Reading the article, all accounts have it that Google has been in talks with T-Mobile for some time and now is in talks with both Verizon and Sprint. If it can net all three carriers to leverage phones with the Google OS, that would be far more than 6 million customers.

Re:Actually, 3 US Networks (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184761)

Indeed, much more than 6 million. If it were 6 million, out of a few hundred million cellphones in the U.S., that would hardly represent a hegemony. On the other hand, if ever cellphone in the U.S. from Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile were to move to the google platform, that would represent a serious force. It would still probably not be a hegemony, not without Cingular (sorry, AT&T), but a serious force nonetheless.

This is hypothetical, of course, since it is unrealistic to think that ever phone from those three carriers would port over - the cell manufacturers wouldn't allow it.

First, maybe, but not THE (5, Interesting)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183831)

Based on Google's public stance on information, I would guess that Verizon might be the first, but not the _only_ cell provider that provides Google-centered telephony. If you watch their lectures and listen to what their spokesmen say, you'll see that Google's interests are in having ubiquitous access to the 'cloud' (their term), meaning that the lines between being online and offline blur to invisibility.

Locking in w/ one carrier doesn't match that goal, especially when you consider their interest in the 700mhz band.

My guess is that if Google makes their break for ubiquity, it will be viral. They'll release a 'Killer setup' on, say, a Verizon phone. Then a few months later, it'll be on a GSM phone, and a few months later, maybe on Some New Thing that hasn't been revealed yet. It'll be a useful set of apps/tools that's "just too useful" for the cell providers to ignore, while so cheap that they can't rationalize building competitive software.

Re:First, maybe, but not THE (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183911)

Locking in w/ one carrier doesn't match that goal, especially when you consider their interest in the 700mhz band.

If you don't believe that locking in with one carrier doesn't mesh with their goal, then T-mobile would be the best bet being that they are one of the few US wireless providers that allow you to use a SIM card while Verizon does not.

Re:First, maybe, but not THE (1)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186075)

Verizon doesn't 'allow' you to use a SIM card because they use CDMA phones, which don't use SIM cards.

Re:First, maybe, but not THE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21186333)

Yeah but in addition to that with Tmobile and other SIM providers there isn't that "mother may I?" with getting your certified phone working. I am sure there are some people who were able to do it but it's a fucking hassle.

Verizon? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184375)

I can't imagine that Verizon would carry the Google phone. They cripple every phone they sell and put their won nasty UI on them.
TMoble and Sprint tend to not cripple their phones and Sprint is pretty open with theirs. The problem is that Sprint is CDMA and TMobel is GSM!
So they are two very different networks.
I really hope Sprint does get the Google phone it is all that and a bag of chips.

Re:First, maybe, but not THE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21186317)

Wouldn't it be nice if Google were to release hardware that supported UMA calling over the 700mhz band?

Smells of... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21183835)

..."Damn, we missed out on the iPhone because we were stupid. Let's get on the Google bandwagon instead!" Whether a *good* product will get delivered or not is anyone's guess. Personally, I'm not holding my breath given Google's relatively poor performance in the market as of late.

I'm also wondering how Verizon's not unlimited [] data plan will affect this. Their already going to be streaming a boat-load of ads to your phone. Will there be integration with Google Youtube? (Violation of service.) Songs to download? (Violation of service.) Radio to listen to? (Violation of service.) Just about any real access to the internet? (Probably a violation of service.)

Meh. Love 'em or hate 'em, I'll stick with AT&T for now.

Re:Smells of... (2, Insightful)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183913)

Couple good points there. Google has alot of technical know-how, but sometimes it seems the business sense of actually delivering a solid, working solution is not there. Google groups are a good example. There was a google group name I was interested in getting hold of, which had been registered but never used. I have as yet found no mechanism for requesting this group name, leading me to believe that someone could essentially grab every possible name and lock everyone else out, like domain names all over again... except without the cost of acquisition.
Relatively minor, but the point is little things like this can have a big impact on perceptions.

Wooliest Summary Ever (0, Offtopic)

erroneous (158367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183843)

"talks floating around" "possible talks" "possibly" "speculated" "potentially".

Wow. Do the authors of the article actually know anything for sure?

Re:Wooliest Summary Ever (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189643)


Are google shipping a phone or only an OS? (1)

Fenice (1156725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183845)

I do not understand really what google is proposing : are they bringing a phone (the gphone?) or only designing a new OS for mobile devices? In the second case, how thoses OS are installed? By phone compagnies? Or is it possible for an user to replace his phone OS?

Re:Are google shipping a phone or only an OS? (3, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184283)

Consensus on the net seems to be that Google will provide software to cell-phone vendors, and will not make a phone themselves. Computers have changed the world partly because we geeks everywhere can program them. Cell phone companies have, through their evil-genius, restricted application development on phones, holding back the inevitable mobile computing revolution. Microsoft has done such a poor job of Windows CE for so many years, that they kind of killed the demand for mobile computing. The OS-es provided by the cell phone vendors are even worse. I personally suspect that Google has sensed this weakness in Microsoft, and hope to own the mobile OS market. Not that I'm gunning for the downfall of Microsoft, but I can hardly wait to get hold of the software Google could be writing. I just hope they display their legendary vision and get it right.

Re:Are google shipping a phone or only an OS? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185575)

I can't see that working - Nokia and Motorola aren't about to give up on Symbian which is already pretty much in a monopoly position on mobiles. They're also fighting Windows Mobile, and Linux is appearing on phones now. Developing a new phone OS from scratch is damned hard.. ask Apple who've been totally bitten by this (iphone is pretty but has major failings as a phone due to its immature software).

Re:Are google shipping a phone or only an OS? (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188191)

More likely it's a full suite of apps that will leverage a connection back to the google mothership.

Let's not forget this is Google. They never bothered with the Google desktop OS, Google browser or Google PC that everyone was certain they had in development. And frankly, a Google Phone OS offered to Verizon is a non-starter. We all know that. Verizon are the king of crippling hardware with their horrible OS and then charging users to re-enable features. There's no way they're going to hand over their iron grip on CDMA hardware/software. Certainly not to Google, who may just turn into a deadly serious direct competitor following the 700mhz auction.

But a package of apps that Verizon can charge users to install and use to sell data plans?
A package of apps that lets Verizon close ground on the iPhone while it develops its own (crippled) (monetized) solutions?
That sounds a bit more reasonable all around.

Re:Are google shipping a phone or only an OS? (1)

Tran (721196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185771)

while (paraphrasing) "Windows CE may be poor and kind killed the demand for mobile computing", MS is set to push hard into this area, in my opinion, with their "Unified Communications" project,1895,2200699,00.asp [] While more netcentric than cell, it will impact cell phones. Also, in my opinion, this "Unified Communications", if well received by larger companies, will end up doing more to harm linux in the long run than anything else I have seen or can see. [off topic: It appears to me that MS really doesn't think much about the server OS much - they think more about services, and service that matter to corporations. Unified Communication looks like it could be the next thing that OSS will chase, like it has chased Exchange. In my opion, though, controlling the corporate voice communication via Unified Communication, will end up having as much if not more lock in as Exchange does now. Lock-in this voice communication, and all of a sudden things like google phones and iPhones might not work properly when trying to communicate with the office.]

A dream... (1)

f00Dave (251755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183849)

I hope there's a stack of OSs (or at least microkernels) in the OS ... one for the radio, one for the display, one to manage data, one for voice, one to drive the (add-on) FPGA-ish hardware that lets this be more than "just" a phone, etcetera. I mean, I know it's asking for a lot (and it's pretty vague, at that!), but if we're going to speculate on a "perfect handheld computer/phone", why not go all the way down to our architectural assumptions? :-D

Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (3, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183851)

I don't get it - isn't the killer phone one that's sufficiently cool like ye olde iPhone yet goes with any carrier? Wouldn't a go-anywhere phone be a better move? I won't get any fancy phone that leaves me stuck with one carrier. It's enough that my freebie phone only works with who gave it to me but if I were to pay for one, I'd want it to go anywhere. Bad car analogy: My Honda isn't restricted to only Honda gas or only Honda streets. Whereas all the people who bought locomotives can only go where B&O lays tracks.

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184009)

A single-carrier for a phone is a problem for people who want the phone but aren't on that carrier. Apple has cut such a sweet deal by allowing only AT&T to carry the iPhone, that it's not a problem for them. I imagine if they made the phone available to any network, they wouldn't get the per phone fees they do from AT&T.

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

s!lat (975103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184415)

At the same time though, wouldn't Apple's (and also Google's) potential profit increase with the exposure to multiple carriers. I think that Apple would have been much more successfull with the iPhone had they marketed it across multiple platforms and I think that Google is going to look at that example and do what Apple didn't

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184649)

Apple has sold more iPhones than it originally projected - how much more success do you want?

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184697)

Perhaps if they sold twice what they currently have? Just because their sales pass expectations doesn't mean they chose the optimal path, just one that generated better than expected sales. IE, if I predict that selling whoozits only in Florida will yield 8 million sold (which would be a good profit for me), then if 10 million sell, I'm still an idiot if selling all over the world would have yielded 150 million sales.

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188371)

Sales isn't that important: profit is. Apple's making lots of profit on their iPhone sales not just from the sale price of the phone itself, but also from all the kickback money from AT&T. If they hadn't made this deal with AT&T, they wouldn't get all that kickback money, and they'd have to price their phone higher. Customers are stupid, and only look at the up-front cost of the phone, and not how much it costs them over time with monthly fees, so AT&T and Apple make more profit by jacking up their monthly fees. However, AT&T's fees are already jacked-up for everyone, regardless of which phone they use (the pricing plan is independent of the phone, as I understand it). So if Apple sold an unlocked phone, customers would have to pay more for the phone, and they'd still get the same monthly price as with the current locked model, and AT&T would just keep more profits for themselves.

The whole situation stinks, and it's because of this weird system we have in the USA where the cellular providers also sell the phones, and the phones are locked into their networks. In other countries with better regulation, the providers do just that: provide wireless service. You buy the phone yourself, and use it with any provider you choose. The problem with that model is 1) it requires government regulation, which Americans don't like, and 2) it requires the government to force standardization of one cellular technology (GSM), which is bad if you're trying to sell equipment for a different standard (like CDMA).

For people with libertarian leanings such as myself, it's an interesting example of how sometimes you need government interference in order to increase peoples' freedom. Without much government regulation, we get competing cellular standards, and a marketplace that doesn't offer much freedom of choice for consumers, though there's probably a lot more profit for the corporations. In the rest of the world, government regulation forces only one cellular technology standard to be allowed, but this results in far more freedom of choice for consumers, and far lower prices to boot. We pay a fortune for our cellular service here compared to what it costs in most other countries.

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189179)

Customers are stupid, and only look at the up-front cost of the phone, and not how much it costs them over time with monthly fees, so AT&T and Apple make more profit by jacking up their monthly fees.

Yes. There was a contest recently that if you won, you received a free iPhone. Since it's useless without a $50/month service...

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189501)

This isn't necessarily an indication of stupidity. If you want/need a cellphone anyway, and like the iPhone, winning one for free would be a good deal even though you still had to pay the monthly fees. You'd have to pay for service for any phone you get, after all, even if it's some crappy phone (like mine) that does little more than voice calls.

An indication of stupidity would be a cellular provider offering two deals to consumers: 1) buy an iPhone for $750, plus a 2-year contract for $30/month, or 2) buy an iPhone for $250, plus a 2-year contract (with the same service level as before) for $70/months. Most people, I suspect, would take option #2, and very few people would buy option #1, even though the cost after 2 years is significantly less.

Of course, it's not quite that easy to see just how stupid consumers are, because the providers don't even give us the options of choices like this. They subsidize phones with higher monthly rates, and there are no other choices since that's the only way to get service, and they all do it the same way. But I still think people are stupid because if they were smarter, they'd be loudly complaining to their elected representatives about this situation, and demanding stronger action by the FCC to allow more consumer choice.

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189957)

1) buy an iPhone for $750, plus a 2-year contract for $30/month, or 2) buy an iPhone for $250, plus a 2-year contract (with the same service level as before) for $70/months. Most people, I suspect, would take option #2, and very few people would buy option #1, even though the cost after 2 years is significantly less
Depends on the economy over those 2 years. At a high rate of inflation, #2 could be cheaper.
A little help from Excel suggests that you should definitely take option 2 starting at around 75%.

Re:Isn't single carrier iPhone's "problem"? (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185855)

those sweet per phone fees are passed onto the consumer... so apple is screwing iphone wanting folks twice by limiting it to AT&T, and by at&t passing on that cost to the costumer.

Verizon? That would be bizarre. (4, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183937)

I finally broke with Verizon and switched to T-Mobile, partly because the Verizon phones are impossible to hack without breaking through the wall of Get It Now [] . Verizon's entire business model would seem to be antithetical to Google's stated desire (with $billions behind it) to open up the wireless spectrum to any device, and to put the device owner in control.

In fact, it's not surprising that the article notes that "Google had already made significant progress in recent months with" T-Mobile. While not perfect (my daughter's phone won't let her use anything but $2 downloads for ringtones), T-Mobile is at least based on a more open technology (from what I understand). The surprise is that Verizon would even talk to Google at all. Maybe they aren't -- the article is based on "people familiar with the matter". Those "people" could be from Google, trying to kick-start talks with Verizon by putting the news on the CEO's front porch via the WSJ.

Re:Verizon? That would be bizarre. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188419)

Verizon's entire business model would seem to be antithetical to Google's stated desire (with $billions behind it) to open up the wireless spectrum to any device, and to put the device owner in control.

Actually, I don't see how Google could possibly cooperate with ANY cellular provider in the USA without going against this idea of putting the device owner in control, as EVERY provider has a business model based on keeping their phones locked up so the user's options are limited, and they're forced to buy extra things from the provider for inflated prices.

Unless Google thinks it can strong-arm one or more of the carriers into going along with its plans somehow, they should either simply buy out an existing carrier and its infrastructure, or abandon the USA market altogether.

And Sprint (3, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21183967)

Yahoo! reports it's down to Verizon and Sprint. I'm hoping Sprint! :)

Re:And Sprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21185181)

Ignoring my hatred of Sprint (and, of course, the little thing where they fire you for calling customer support "too much" [] ), can I ask why you want Sprint over Verizon?

At least in my case, there's a practical reason to prefer Verizon over Sprint: I can get actually get Verizon service where I work, while Sprint manages to fail to provide any access. According to the map, there's service here, but when I had Sprint, I got at most 2 bars of service and frequently one or none.

Re:And Sprint (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186217)

Well my reasons are just as selfish. I use their service and work for them. Perhaps full disclosure was in order. hehe Since we didn't get the iPhone, it'd be nice to get a good relationship like this!

Verizon wireless =/= good data traffic (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184015)

Holy carp, I hope not. Verizon's data service to their cell phones at the moment is so far behind the times it's painful. Locked down phones with horrible proprietary browsers may be able to be resolved by Google's phone, but the absurd price scheme they use for data packages and constant disconnects from the wireless data network can't be fixed with just a new phone. Even when I am in a large city I cant get my Verizon based phone to stay connected with their crappy AIM client for more than 15 or 20 minutes.

Re:Verizon wireless =/= good data traffic (1)

vaximily (924764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184185)

... What are you talking about? Verizon (Same network as Sprint) has hands down the BEST Data network in the US. T-mobile's is by far the worst, with Cingular (now AT&T) not far behind.

Now I have no doubt you may have a piece of crap phone that has brain issue's like yourself, but don't blame the network.

Re:Verizon wireless =/= good data traffic (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21187415)

I have an LG VX9800.

Re:Verizon wireless =/= good data traffic (1)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184307)

Disagree completely.

I hate verizon's locked and crappy hardware as much as the next guy. I've tried to get away from them on several occasions, but always keep coming back... I'd switch to a GSM carrier in a heartbeat, if their networks were even remotely comparable. Unfortunately, in the northeast, Verizon's voice service really is unparalleled. Their ridiculous tower density coupled with the fact that 800Mhz CDMA outperforms 1900Mhz GSM handily really shows in practice. I've tried AT&T, T-mobile, and Sprint. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that AT&T's new 800Mhz rollouts will bring their level of service up to the point where their service is usable in a few years.

As far as data goes, Verizon EVDO easily blows away offerings from other carriers (I've also tried them all). I find that it really is about as fast as my first DSL connection. It's pricey, but IMHO well worth it if you use it for work.

P.S. an active data connection is not maintained for AIM... The client uses a data connection for a few seconds when you first login to get your buddy list. Further communication occurs via text messages (they want you to pay the text messaging rate). No idea why you have trouble staying signed on, but it's definitely not the data network.

Re:Verizon wireless =/= good data traffic (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184997)

Just curious, what are American rates for data? Up here in Canada-land, we pay $217 USD for 500MB of data. Hard to imagine getting worse than that, but I'm curious.

Hegemony (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184061)

"...could this be "the deal" that establishes Google's hegemony in the internet sphere."

Ok, maybe I'm missing something, but haven't they already established their leadership roll on the internet? Really, is there a company out there more influential than Google when it comes to the internet?

Re:Hegemony (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21184109)

No no no. See, right now Google only dominates the tubes. This would allow them to branch out into the sphere as well.

Re:Hegemony (1)

jberryman (1175517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184385)

I think you mean the internet sphere, the Intersphere if you will. It's spherical.

Re:Hegemony (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184691)

Really, is there a company out there more influential than Google when it comes to the internet?

To most users, Google remains a search engine and nothing more.

Hmmm (2, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184165)

Frankly, I'm not sure what to think about this.

First, I was under the impression that Google would make a physical iPhone competitor as well as its own OS/Software. This OS/Software would also be open to 3rd Parties to create apps/additional tools for it.

Second, I was hoping it would be open to any carrier. Obviously, some tools might only be usable on some networks as maybe not all carriers support a particular technology. Perhaps you would have to search for the carrier that best suited your wishes for your phone functionality.

Verizon... Unfortunately, I had the displeasure of working for a particular customer that had a lot of Fractional T1's that were supported by Verizon, at least at the LEC level. Now, I don't know what the rest of you know, but working with them on a Business to Business level was absolutely HORRIBLE.

Here is a particular scenario that would play out ALL the time (This is a little Off Topic, but I just want to color the picture as to why I hate Verizon).

One of my Frac T1's would go down. ATT would determine that there was a problem in the LEC network, maybe a bad Demarc, something in their C.O., etc. AT&T would load a ticket to them for Dispatch to troubleshoot. Verizon would reply with "Pending Tech Pickup" (basically meaning they were waiting for a tech to answer the page to accept the job). The ticket would get stuck in this state all day until end of business. At this point, Verizon would push the ticket back to AT&T as "This will have to go out 1st AM as it is now End-of-Business". The next day the process would repeat. Sometimes for 2 to 3 days in a row.

Now I remind you this was how they treated BUSINESS service.

I've also heard that customer service, end users, non-business users, actually LIKE them and find them friendly and helpful. But I don't know why this is? Seperate business units with seperate management? They just hate other businesses? I'm not sure. But I simply can't STAND Verizon after banging my head against the wall trying to get them to fix a damn fractional T1 for a business.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184439)

Just a side comment about Verizon, but we have a full T1 through Verizon and we have had good service from them. Only once has our T1 went down and we had a tech here within an hour working on it and we were up and running shortly thereafter (some sort of battery or something needed to be replaced). Granted, Qwest provides our local line and the dispatched tech was a Qwest tech, so I'm not sure if it speaks to Verizon's response or Qwest's response.

Re:Hmmm (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186045)

The only way I know of to get a phone to work with any carrier is to produce a phone without a radio, and use a radio plugin from the carrier. This can be accomplished by the phone having a CF slot, since nearly all the carriers have a CF data card which can be used for voice also.

Just producing a multi-band phone won't work, since many carriers (such a Verizon and Sprint) won't activate a phone that didn't come from them. But they can't controll where you use the CF card you get from them though.

GSM is the global standard. (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184267)

Remember, GSM [] is the global standard, and unlocked 4-band GSM phones are the only ones compatible with GSM in all areas.

"GSM is used by over 2 billion people across more than 212 countries and territories." If you go to another country, you can get a local phone number merely by purchasing a SIM card. A local number is excellent because then new acquaintances can always reach you if they want to talk or invite you somewhere.

Remember also that the business model of cellular phone companies has been that they deliberately won't handle surges in traffic, but will simply drop or distort calls.

OS discussion (2, Interesting)

steffens (1050246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184389)

I would tend to believe that verizon can find a large correlation between the users who utilize their higher end services (data, web, extremely high minutes usage) and the front end on those phones. I have a feeling that this is not the normal "I use this phone because it was the free" type user, but rather the users who spring for the higher end phones (Q, Q9, Treo etc.. all of which aren't crippled by the standard verizon OS). It seems like for awhile verizon has gotten away with their crippled front end because they placed it on a trendy form factor, namely the razor and all of it's iterations. I would assume they have realized for awhile that the market has been saturated with stylish form factor phones and they going to have to step up their front end soon if they want to keep the users satisfied enough to not migrate to one of the other companies.

If my gross assumptions are on the mark, I bet the people at verizon think it would be a pretty sweet deal to get a company that is inherently trusted by the average consumer to do the redesign that they so desperately need.

Most phones with a 'real' web experience are $$$$$ (3, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184541)

Almost every cell phone has some rudimentary web ability but the phones that affect a real computer browser web experience are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE and all rebated according to the size of the DATA plan you buy not the phone plan. An iPhone, Nokia N95, HTC Active or Mogul, a Cingular 8225 - these are all $400-500-600 devices.

So either Google figures those customers are price insensitive or, they figure that the phone companies will do this for free to cannibalize their own incredibly profitable network services. I mean why offer picture mail at those inflated prices when anyone can post up something in Picasa?

No I think this will be ANOTHER service cost addr to the service you get. Which I guess is ok for some people. But I already bleed enough money to the phone company.

And oh - GSM means no Sprint.

Amirite? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184593)

According to the article, one of the main hurdles slowing down the product are concerns about user privacy and advertising, one of Google's well-renowned strengths.
You mean, one of Google's well-known weaknesses and one of Google's glaring annoyances.

Re:Amirite? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188575)

Would you prefer to pay a subscription fee in order to use a search engine, map system, etc.? Google can't exactly give all that stuff away for free.

I'm sure the unwashed will like it but... (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184819)

I won't.

Verizon and Google--unstoppable force meets immovable object. I think Google will lose here, simply because Verizon locks their phones down too tightly. (A lot of Verizon RAZR owners flash with AllTel firmware just to get their phone in an "unbrokeass" state.)

Kudos to Google for trying to force open the tight walled gardens that the US Mobile Carriers have built, but they will most likely fail.

I think I'll stick with the OpenMoko on a regional carrier, or maybe Helios or T-Mobile--that seems to be the most Open option for those of us who care about such things. I haven't fully researched the best carrier.

Vaporware? (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184915)

Google is possibly in talks regarding phones using an OS speculated to exist?
Does Google need this kind of slashvertisement, or is it just a slow news day?

Yay! A one-stop shop for privacy violations. (2, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184977)

Great. Now Google will not only know what I search for but also who I talk to on the phone....

The weird and scary part about this is the number of slashdotters who can't wait for this to happen.

So let me get this straight. AT&T as a communication monopoly is bad. Microsoft as a operating systems monopoly is bad. Google as a monopoly on all things data is good? Let me clarify: Google as an all knowing overseer of all things being communicated is good??

We worry about the government tracking us, but not a corporation that derives it's income from targeted ads??

Where can I get some of this google kool-aid?

Re:Yay! A one-stop shop for privacy violations. (1)

SimonBelmont (1089255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21187915)

If you actually paid attention what's going on, Google is speculated to be making an OS for phones, not phones themselves, and certainly not the network the phones will connect to. This is good - if wireless companies actually adopt this, it means more interoperability and less lock-down, and an open platform for you to make your own phone apps, etc. How you get out of this that Google will be tracking your phone calls is beyond me, when no data from a Google phone would even go through Google unless Google is where you were browsing on it.

Google has come a long way from the benign trustworthy startup they were many years ago, but please, base your bashing on actual events.

Verizon wireless != /= Verizon (2, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21184993)

Different companies.


fluor2 (242824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185463)

I find it very funny that a release of a piece hardware is licensed to a broadband and telecommunications company. It should be free and not locked to just one provider.

Verizon alliance seeds market for Google (1)

rshimizu12 (668412) | more than 6 years ago | (#21185861)

Google's alliance with Verizon will give them time to seed the market and build mind share while they build their own infrastructure if this comes to fruition. I think the cell phone carrier is foolish to give them time to do this.

Cost (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21186363)

For this to work Google and the carrier need to make money. The carrier currently charges based on my transfer amounts and I'm unlikely to want to pay so I can allow Google to show me ads or prefetch my gmail. Which means Google will have to reduce my payment. I know they have turned pay software free before but I'm not sure they can cut my cellphone bill enough to make me get wireless internet. I'm not going to pay for such a service but if it is free I would but that means Google will need to make enough to pay the carrier and themselves, and at $40 a person that's a lot to make from ads.

Re:Cost (1)

SimonBelmont (1089255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188067)

Nowhere does TFA say Google is trying to cut your bill by showing you ads on your phone, or anything like that. It talks about "handsets tailored to its new mobile-phone operating system," and adds, "The phones also would be open to third-party application development, potentially spurring development of new features." It sounds like all they are trying to do is open up the hardware. Verizon still owns the network and can sell you whatever data plan they want. The motivation is not hard to spot - if Google is successful with this, their apps (gmail, maps, etc) would be available to a lot more wireless devices, since carriers currently try to lock out access to a lot of third-party apps, and lock developers out of the hardware. Google doesn't need to charge anybody anything for doing this; their reward is increased market share as more people (choose freely to) use Google services on their phones.

Re:Cost (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188607)

I personally don't see how Google could offer anything useful in this realm, given the current situation with cellular providers in the USA. The only way I can see anything working out is if Google were to simply buy out one of the major providers, and then completely change their business plan so that the cellular bills are much cheaper, data (as opposed to voice) is free or dirt cheap, etc.

Strange partners (1)

pcause (209643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21187727)

It would seem strange for Verizon to do this deal. Verizon tries to keep pretty tight control on their network, phones, applications and the like. They use BREW which is a very closed platform. They take 40+% of revenue from the applications they do allow on their network. In the recent stir about the FCC auction Verizon and Google were on opposite sides and Verizon was against any device/any application rules. Worse, GOOG411 is aimed squarely at one of Verizon's most profitable businesses.

Why would Verizon want to help Google, unless Google agrees to pay upfront and has some other restrictions. I guess perhaps Google might pay the phone subsidies, but these help Verizon lock folks into 2 years plans. Maybe Google will pay and Verizon will still insist on 2 years, a la Apple and AT&T. And, is the Google phone really any better/different than anything else out there?

Of course, Verizon does have on set of phones that are open and allow downloading any application - the Windows mobile phones.

WiMax Auction in January 2008? (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188517)

From what I've read both Verizon and Google are polar opposites on open access. Google has admitted to making plans to deploy their own Network. It only makes sense that they are negotiating an access/right-of-way across these competitors networks and not jumping on-board with a hardware OEM/Telco relationship.

Google phone is only interesting... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21188891)

...due to the hope it would provide an open alternative. But "open" and "Verizon"? Yeah, right...

Why would Google work with CDMA? (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21189425)

Seriously, why would Google work with any CDMA network company? At least with GSM, you can pop the SIM card out and use any phone with any GSM service (as long as they use the same frequency.) This would be more in the spirit of what their demands are for the 700MHz band. Plus, if they are officially "supported" by T-Mobile, then they also have a relatively easy in to the European markets.

Of course, if Google could have their phones sold by all carriers, that would maximize their profits. But then they might be venturing into doing "evil." I personally think they should just work with the phone manufacturers and try to influence the service companies to provide better data plans.

Watch me move with my juke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21190295)

But not you, google. Stop watching my moves!
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