updated 03:05 pm EDT, Thu August 2, 2007
Google Phone Resurfaces
Google is still pouring "hundreds of millions" into developing a cellphone based around its web services, Reuters' research firm Anian says in a new study. In addition to drawing on Taiwan's HTC for developing a custom, Linux-based phone for the start of 2008, the search engine creator has also invested heavily into deals with global carriers, picking T-Mobile as the provider for a Google phone in the US and Orange filling in gaps for Europe and other regions.
Vodafone and its American partner Verizon were also said to have talked with Google at earlier points about at least integrating search tools into their phones but eventually turned down the offers, with Verizon in particular disliking the need to share ad revenues with Google. AT&T has reportedly entered negotiations with Google but has declined commenting on the situation, with spokesman Mark Siegel adding that the carrier talks to "a lot of different companies" and avoids comment as a matter of policy.
Claims of a Google phone first surfaced early this year with sources alleging that a touchscreen Linux phone dubbed the Switch would rely exclusively on a high-speed Internet connection to store and manage data. However, the company has so far this year forestalled any confirmation or denials of a phone and has centered its attention on deals with handset makers. Apple's iPhone currently uses a variant on Google Maps and defaults to Google for Safari searching, while LG has offered the KS10 and other devices with explicit Google search and YouTube video features.
Providers have also signed up for deals that could ultimately compete with a Google phone. Verizon has run a YouTube channel since late last year and recently struck a deal with Sprint to collaborate on services for the latter's 4G WiMAX network that goes live in 2008.