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.