updated 02:20 pm EDT, Wed September 19, 2007
Google On Track for Phone
Google is still developing its own cellphone for release within the next few months, claim industry connections at Taiwan's cellphone manufacturers. In spite of reports that the search engine creator was focusing only on its own operating system, the sources allege that HTC has still been tapped to produce a handset for Google and that the primary issue is the chipset for cellular Internet access, which may delay the phone's release depending on Google's final choice. While the company has so far planned to use a Texas Instruments EDGE chipset that would let it release a cellphone before the end of the year, the company has been contemplating a 3G chipset from Qualcomm that would offer much faster speeds. This could push back a release to early 2008 through licensing and patent issues, the insiders say.
Details beyond the wireless frequency were unknown, though they suggested that the rumored Google mobile OS was a distinct possibility and would create one of the few major alternatives to Windows Mobile or Symbian, the latter of which is primarily used by Nokia and Sony-Ericsson. The choice of carriers was also in dispute, though the proposed use of EDGE would point towards AT&T or T-Mobile in the US as well major carriers in Canada and Europe.
Google has taken multiple steps that suggest an attempt to establish a greater influence on the cellphone market than its existing strategy of bundling miniature applications such as the iPhone's Google Maps utility. The company recently hoped to patent SMS payments and won a partial victory in demanding open access be a condition for the 700MHz band auction, raising the possibility that a future Google phone could access a new form of high-speed wireless Internet access or run VoIP and similar programs without the restrictions that apply to current networks.