updated 08:40 am EDT, Fri August 24, 2007
Google Phone in Fortnight
The frequently rumored Google phone could be announced in as little as two weeks, claim Indian sources familiar with the search engine giant's press release efforts. An official release would come within a "fortnight" and would initially release the phone simultaneously in Europe and the US. Indian companies have recently begun talks but could potentially see the phone carried by one of multiple networks in the country, including the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam as well as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar. Google is reportedly also negotiating Google Talk and search features for carriers in the area, though this is actually less certain than the phone announcement, according to the sources.
The Mountain View, California-based firm said it wouldn't comment on "rumour or speculation" but once again sidestepped any outright confirmation or denial of the claims, stressing only its current partnerships for delivering applications and search tools. "We have nothing to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson said.
An actual release date for the potential phone was not provided through the leak, though the Indian report noted that rumors begun in early 2007 had pegged a release within a year, pointing to an early 2008 release for the finished device. The initial claim would have had Google produce a Linux-powered touchscreen device that would depend heavily on Internet access to run applications. Speculation quieted down during the spring but was reinvigorated this summer when Taiwan component makers and other sources claimed that handset maker HTC had been asked to produce the device on Google's behalf. Regardless of its immediate plans, Google is already taking an active interest in licensing part of the soon to be auctioned 700MHz frequency in the US and is suspected of planning ad-based phone service as well as its own mobile broadband initiative.
No word has been received as to how a Google-branded phone would affect Apple, LG, and other cellphone designers that have integrated Google programs into their phone software. Google chairman Eric Schmidt sits on Apple's Board of Directors and is unofficially credited with spurring the use of Google Maps on the iPhone as well as YouTube on both the iPhone and Apple TV.