The Wall Street Journal got the GPhone rumor mill churning. Now London's Telegraph is adding grist to the mill, reporting that Google services including search, e-mail, and interactive maps will come preloaded on the device that the company has yet to admit exists.
Anian, a Reuters company that keeps an eye on industry trends for institutional investors, is at the root of the rumor. Anian reported that Google has enlisted Taiwan's HTC to design a Linux-based phone. T-Mobile would be Google's U.S. partner, Anian maintains, while France Telecom's Orange would push the GPhone in Europe. The launch date, Anian said, will be during the first quarter of 2008.
The potential opportunities for Google entering the mobile market with an ad-subsidized phone are clearly vast. Frost & Sullivan figures the mobile advertising market in the U.S. alone will generate $2.12 billion in revenue by 2011 compared to $301 million in 2006. The Shoesteck Group estimates $10 billion globally by 2010, while EJL Wireless Research pegs the worldwide mobile advertising market at $9.5 billion by 2011.
Huge Revenue Stream: "Google clearly sees mobile search as a huge potential revenue stream, so much so that the company is exploring many different ways of getting in the game," said Avi Greengart, a mobile devices analysts at Current Analysis.
Indeed, Google already has been working with wireless carriers, trying to get more of its software on existing handsets. And Google is considering spending billions of dollars in the upcoming auction for wireless spectrum. Now, the rumor mill suggests, Google is looking at becoming a handset vendor.
"Google sees the future of search moving to mobile, but they are not sure how to get there," Greengart said. "If you bet on every horse, you are sure not to lose. So they are placing bets, partnering with manufacturers, carriers, and others."
Google's Intentions? Google's true intentions remain unclear. The Wall Street Journal offers plenty of particulars, but cites "people familiar with the plans" and "people who have been briefed on it" as sources.
Google has invested millions of dollars in the secret cell phone project, the Journal reported, and has made overtures to operators including both T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. According to the Journal, Google will have multiple manufacturers make the devices to its specifications and will offer the handsets through multiple carriers.
Google could not immediately be reached for comment. But as analysts and others speculate over the reality and viability of a GPhone, few are questioning whether Google wants to pursue mobile advertising opportunities.
Google has already demonstrated that it is intent on developing software and services for the mobile market. At the All Things Digital conference in May, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said, "What's interesting about the ads in the mobile phone is that they are twice as profitable or more than the nonmobile phone ads because they're more personal."
Wall Street Journal, WSJ, Google, Mobile Phones, Cellular Phones, Smart Phone, communication, GPhone, Rumors
Source:? Yahoo News