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This picture making the rounds on the Web purports to be a prototype of a Google phone.
Google's designs on the mobile market are becoming increasingly clear.

Anticipation of a mobile phone development projects within Google appears confirmed by a recent job posting at the company's Mountain View, Californa, headquarters.

The Google Jobs Web site currently lists an opening for a "first-rate analog designer with more than 5 years experience," to join an internal effort to create a new mobile communications device. The ad states, that "Google is experimenting with a few wireless communications systems including some completely novel concepts."

The posting goes on to invite applicants to consider joining the company's "small team of top-notch logic designers and analog designers aimed at nothing less than making the entire world's information accessible from anywhere for free."

The statements lay to rest any doubts regarding rumors that Google was actively developing a mobile communications hardware platform, although it remains to be seen whether the final product will bear any resemblance to images published by Web sites such as Gizmodo.com.

The job posting will fuel rampant speculation and lend credence to reports such as the one recently published by venture capitalist Simeon Simeonov of Polaris Venture Partners. In his blog entry this week, Simeonov reports that Google has assembled a group of 100 employees to work on the project under the direction of Andy Rubin, founder of mobile device maker Danger.

Rubin's subsequent startup, Android, was acquired by Google in 2005, along with a mobile applications company Reqwireless. Simeonov also draws a link to Google purchase of Skia that year. The company's flagship product was a portable graphics engine designed for low-end devices, such as mobile phones.

Although Google has announced a partnership with Samsung to embed Google’s mobile services on select Samsung phones, the search engine giant still has not publicly acknowledged plans to develop its own mobile hardware. Google previously partnered with Nokia  to develop a mobile device to communicate over existing wi-fi networks using a mobile version of Google Talk.



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Interface
By Vertigo101 on 3/8/2007 7:28:34 AM , Rating: 4
It's all about the interface. If Google can engineer a UI that's attractive and functional, and put it into a sleek phone that's durable and works well (Good reception is key), they could make a huge splash with a product like this.




RE: Interface
By TomZ on 3/8/2007 11:28:19 AM , Rating: 4
Why would they have any advantage over the hundreds of other companies that could do the same? Google even has to hire a new team for that project, since they don't have it already as a core competence. It takes years to develop a strong capability in a product as complex as a cell phone, and besides, anything google can come up with will be done better by the existing cell phone OEMs and ODMs. That market is super-competitive - I give google no more than 10% chance of success.


RE: Interface
By aos007 on 3/8/2007 1:16:15 PM , Rating: 1
Because they are not approaching the project the same way everyone else (except seemingly Apple) does. They are not aiming to just copy and tweak something that already exists, but rather "shift the paradigm". It wouldn't make any sense otherwise. As you say, their chances would be slim to one. They aren't that stupid to attempt to create yet another "mee too" phone. It's the way you interface with the phone and phone interfaces with the "network" that appears to be novel.


RE: Interface
By TomZ on 3/8/2007 3:04:17 PM , Rating: 4
I think it is kind of a misbelief that someone approaching a particular problem for the first time will be able to come up with an innovative, unique approach. In the case of pure genius, this might be the case, but that talent is rare.

The way that Google can be successful in such an endeavor is to figure out a clever way to leverage a new phone product against their existing services. Even for that, they would IMO have a higher chance of success in partnering with an existing OEM/ODM. Existing companies have many years experience and bringing a product like a cell phone to market is a very complicated undertaking.


RE: Interface
By Pandamonium on 3/8/2007 5:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
Google has the funds to hire a team of "pure genius". I believe there was a thread on AT a few months ago about a Google interview. Years of experience can be trumped by someone with pockets deep enough to shell out for a think-tank .


RE: Interface
By Vertigo101 on 3/9/2007 12:22:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would they have any advantage over the hundreds of other companies that could do the same?

Does "Cingular Exclusive" or "Edge Phone" ring any bells?

If you actually get some freedom to use the device, instead of being locked in to a particular service provider, (I think the image is clear enough that I don't have to name names) Google could easily overshadow an exclusive competitor.

Your argument could have been made against Google's attempt at a search engine as well, and they're doing pretty well at that.


RE: Interface
By TomZ on 3/9/2007 2:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
The difference with search is that is their core competence. That makes a world of difference.


I dont trust google with my contacts.
By Mitch101 on 3/8/2007 9:55:32 AM , Rating: 1
I dont trust google with my contacts. Same with google desktop I dont trust them with my documents on their servers. Google is getting to invasive to the point where I have switched back to Yahoo after about 5 years of google searches.




By Master Kenobi (blog) on 3/8/2007 10:07:01 AM , Rating: 2
Short of their search engine and a gmail account I don't use any of their products. Let's not get into how bad Google Desktop can hose up a 2K or XP machine if not properly removed. Blasted kernel hooks.


By Webgod on 3/10/2007 9:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, I've never removed Google Desktop before. I need it even with Vista's built-in search to dig through my Internet history.


RE: I dont trust google with my contacts.
By drebo on 3/8/2007 10:47:38 AM , Rating: 2
Tin-foil hat time. Let's have a party.

Not.


By TomZ on 3/8/2007 11:24:35 AM , Rating: 2
If your data is stored on their servers, then they have control of your data. That is unacceptable to most businesses and many individuals.


RE: I dont trust google with my contacts.
By ryancat on 3/8/2007 7:30:42 PM , Rating: 1
Google was the only one out of Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL that didn't give up their search data to the FCC when they demanded it. Invasive, maybe; trusted, yes.


By nunya on 3/21/2007 11:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
Google is a business, not your friend. Fostering feelings like this is exactly why they did what they did, not because of some great care for your privacy. If the government had really put the squeeze on, you better believe they'd give you up in a heartbeat.


Define Free
By paydirt on 3/8/2007 8:39:45 AM , Rating: 3
As consumers, don't get too excited about "free." I may be wrong, but I'm interpreting free as "with ads."




RE: Define Free
By alifbaa on 3/8/2007 9:21:56 AM , Rating: 2
yup. But remember that part of Google's mantra (at least now while they're still pretty young) is to let the user choose how to use their products. It's not inconceivable that some sort of ad blocker couldn't be laid on top of the interface either with Google's permission or without. Either way, Google is pretty good about keeping their ads less "in your face." For me, having VOIP, email, IM, and internet capabilities to anywhere from anywhere for the cost of a wireless internet connection is a good enough deal that I can probably deal with the ads. Also, there will undoubtedly be ad-free versions available from Google or others, and the price will have to be reasonable given the ubiquity an of these devices will achieve very quickly.


RE: Define Free
By TomZ on 3/8/2007 11:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
You're right - why else would they have such a large display for a phone?


RE: Define Free
By Wolfpup on 3/9/2007 10:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'll gladly take free phone/internet service if I have ads as a trade off. I'm spending $90 a month on the two combined, and that's about as cheap as I can go (I'm getting fairly good "deals" on both). That's a lot of money for me, and I'd GLADLY take ads to get either one free, or cheaper.

(As long as my phone calls and web use weren't being monitored in any meaningful way.)


I hope
By creathir on 3/8/2007 9:42:57 AM , Rating: 3
I hope ALL phones do not go to the "no button" interface. I have a Cingular 8525, and this lack of button numbers is a pain in the neck.

As I have stated before, this is the biggest problem with the iPhone (no, it is NOT the first touch screen phone... that belongs to several of the Windows based Smart devices... I love how Apple can LIE to us and no one calls them on it...)

The Google phone, as the iPhone, looks cool, but from a practicality point of view, the lack of buttons is a major issue.

Of course, time will tell how well both of these devices do, but for now, even though it is a pain, I'll stick with my fully functioning PDA phone.

- Creathir




RE: I hope
By TomZ on 3/8/2007 11:33:22 AM , Rating: 2
I completely agree. Designers for years have recognized the need for tactile feedback in buttons in product designs. Touchscreen is nothing new - it has been around for many years and is widely used in other industries. If the user can give the device their full attention and it has a large display, then touchscreen works well. Neither of these criteria apply for typical cell phone usage.

The iPhone will be successful only to the niche of users that like Apple and their aesthetics, and who don't care about the higher price tag. These types of customers probably don't care if the functionality is somewhat impared by the design.


RE: I hope
By raionz on 3/8/2007 12:45:13 PM , Rating: 2
its not so much about buttons free imho, but fingerprints.

Im not sure if it exist, but is there not a film or something that doesnt shows every single fingerprint on the screen?


RE: I hope
By Suomynona on 3/8/2007 7:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they can come up with a touch screen that has morphic properties such that when you need tactile buttons on the screen they are there. I don't know if that made sense the way I worded it but I definately think it is possible.


shame
By semo on 3/8/2007 7:29:59 AM , Rating: 2
i was hoping google would make a nice simple phone for everybody. i've probably been spoiled by their other clean and simple services.

now it is up to the big players to cater for the ostensibly risky and "niche" market of simple mobile phones.

give us back the 6310i nokia!!!




RE: shame
By fxyefx on 3/8/2007 7:58:44 AM , Rating: 2
I like it when companies try to leap forward, creating new markets, with products like this. What good would it do anyone to have another simple phone to choose from, but that just happened to be made by Google? There are enough companies working on those already.


Beta forever
By lennylim on 3/8/2007 3:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
If Google ever rolls out a cell phone service, the only thing I know for sure is that it will remain in beta for the next millennium.




RE: Beta forever
By INeedCache on 3/8/2007 9:09:32 PM , Rating: 2
You could be onto something - the Google Millenium BetaPhone. I think it's catchy. Nice job! Maybe Google could trademark the "beta" part like Apple wants to do with the "i".


Meh...
By meetoblivion on 3/8/2007 7:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
While Google's definitely a good company, I don't think we need to have everything "googled." They should focus more on making all of their existing products 100% bug free, then work on ways to expand. For instance, if you use gmail and have 101 emails (view set to either 50 or 100) and you delete that 101th email, it says "Displaying 101-100 out of 100." I have no doubt the product will be good, but how buggy will it be? How good/bad will the service be?




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