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Google Android device to go data-only?

updated 03:30 pm EST, Wed November 18, 2009

Google phone may actually be data device

Google's frequently rumored self-branded Android phone could skirt around its partners' worries by using only Internet service if a source is true. The still unknown device would primarily be intended for data and would use VoIP for its calls. At least AT&T has expressed interest in supplying the network for the phone and could let customers pay as little as $20 per month for access, although TechCrunch understands that "conditions" may be involved at that price.

AT&T is known to make exceptions for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users that only want data service, but making it a standard plan would be unusual. The iPhone and some other devices are often required to have voice plans attached as the cost of the device itself needs the voice plan to recoup the subsidy.

It coincides with Google itself recently buying Gizmo5, a startup that offers end-to-end VoIP calls. Google Voice carries a certain element of VoIP but still requires that customers already have an existing phone plan; it only reroutes calls through a central online number, using conventional service both for the outbound call as well as at the final destination.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Google Tablet

    C'mon Apple, don't let Google be first with a tablet. The Goog isn't afraid to be first with a less than perfect product, they already have loads of content and enough developers to be a threat.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    data plans

    AT&T is known to make exceptions for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users that only want data service, but making it a standard plan would be unusual.

    Um, they have standard data plans. Just because it isn't available for the iPhone (which I'm sure is as much an Apple decision as it is an ATT decision) doesn't make it 'unusual'.

    Oh, and data-only on those other devices is big in the business world. ATT would only kill a good hunk of business if they tried to insist on those users to 'get a phone plan'.

    And ATT might decide to offer the phone as a data device like their laptop cards. Charge more, not unlimited, but allow VOIP and the like.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Google tablet

    First off, the iPhone wasn't first in the market, so it is proven Apple doesn't have to, nor does it care to, beat the others to a market.

    Second, Apple's iPhone was far from perfect when it was released 2 years ago (oh yes it was). It took a year to bring apps to the phone (besides Apple's lame set of apps, that is). And, as a phone, took another year before it even came close to supporting a decent set of phone features (why it took 2 years to get voice dialing is beyond comprehension, esp. since Apple did the whole voice recognition thing years ago - though they always touted it and then dumped it again).

  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004


    Apple's "lame" apps?

    re: testudo

    I'm not sure what you mean by Apple's lame apps. The app store is definitely a huge part of their success, but when the iPhone was released, no other phones web browser worked as well. Most of the other apps were decent even if they weren't outstanding. Yeah, you could complain about the voice dialing. There are always tradeoffs with a new device. I would say the sales numbers show a lot of people didn't consider the apps lame.

    Does Apple need a netbook/tablet? Probably. The netbook market may exceed the regular laptop one. The iPhone is almost a mini tablet now. People don't buy netbooks to play PC games. They want basic web access, email and normal office junk. If Apple could create something unique, say a paper-thin journal sized table with a virtual keyboard big enough to type on (with correction of course as this is critical on the iPhone), they might have something different enough to stand out.

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