Google close to unveiling software and services for mobile phones

“Google Inc. is close to unveiling its long-planned strategy to shake up the wireless market, people familiar with the matter say. The Web giant’s ambitious goal: to make applications and services as accessible on cellphones as they are on the Internet,” Amol Sharma reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“In a move likely to kick off an intense debate about the future shape of the cellphone industry, Google wants to make it easier for cellphone customers to get a variety of extra services on their phones — from maps to social-networking features to video-sharing,” Sharma reports.

“In recent months Google has approached several U.S. and foreign handset manufacturers about the idea of building phones tailored to Google software, with Taiwan’s HTC Corp. and South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. mentioned in the industry as potential contenders. Google is also seeking partnerships with wireless operators,” Sharma reports.

“The Google-powered phones are expected to wrap together several Google applications — among them, its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail email — that have already made their way onto some mobile devices,” Sharma reports.

MacDailyNews Take: “Some mobile devices” would, of course, be headlined by Apple’s iPhone which already features Google search, Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail capabilities.

Sharma continues, “The most radical element of the plan, though, is Google’s push to make the phones’ software ‘open’ right down to the operating system, the layer that controls applications and interacts with the hardware. That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features… While many software developers are likely to cheer Google’s open wireless platform, there are some potential risks for consumers. If Google isn’t careful, sensitive user information could end up in the wrong hands, leading to spamming, stalking or other invasions of privacy.”

Full article here.

16 Comments

  1. The software has not been released and there are already security concerns.

    This is not Microsoft software. Let’s give Google the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure security will be built in and not tacked on as an afterthought.

  2. It will be interesting to see how this shakes up the industry. On one hand, mobile phone service in the US is a mess. Compared to the type and pervasiveness of service in Europe, Japan and South Korea, it’s pitiful, in no small part because it was a creation of the greed of companies like Verizon, AT&T;, Sprint et al. The iPhone is a first shot across the bow. I can only hope that Google can compete in a marketplace that loves to club baby seals. Much like Preston Tucker tried to take on the auto industry, or Howard Hughes tried to take on PanAm, Google will face vicious attacks from Microsoft, as well as carriers like Verizon with a deeply vested interest in the status quo.

    What this means for Apple will be interesting. With Eric Schmidt on the Apple board, there can’t be rancor between the two companies. And Apple already has Google Maps embedded in the iPhone. So will the two companies partner, or be the best of enemies? Time will tell.

    As for me, I hope that this is a wake-up call to the fat cats. Will consumer demand finally help shake up an industry that has been anything but consumer-friendly? Will the telcos even allow Google to get in the game? (Just because Google may be developing a handset OS does not mean that the telcos will accept it. Such is the power of monopoly.)

    Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

    Oh, and one more thing: Scott Boras, you suck. I’m not even a Yankees fan (truth be told, I am an Angels fan), but the stunt you pulled the other night with your boy A-Rod was in bad taste. You tried to upstage the World Series, you egotistical twit. I hope there’s payback, pal. The best thing baseball could do is to have the owners band together and collectively decide NOT to extend any offers for A-Rod. Let him sit out a season or two. Now that would send a message.

  3. It seems to me that if your code is completely open, that would make it easier to find exploits for malicious code to use. After all, wasn’t the vulnerability in the iPhone as a result of it using some open code for rendering images or something like that?

  4. Verizon suddenly called me today “offering” a “free” new phone — tied to a 2-year contract of course. A few minutes later I opened a local newspaper to a full-page Verizon ad.

    Seems like the mobile-industrial complex is getting concerned about real competition generated via a device that delivers. Don’t have an iPhone yet, but soon, methinks.

  5. Back in June I predicted that Google would be releasing it’s business applications (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Mail, Calendar, etc) on the iPhone as part of a ‘business’ package.

    I still believe that this is true and now that we have seen that Apple intends to ‘open’ up the iPhone to developers, I believe that Apple partners like Google will have an advantage on the iPhone. However, I do not believe that Google will try to replace the iPhone operating system (or the OS for any other mobile phone). They may introduce their own frameworks to each mobile phone, but that is just good business sense and does not mean that they intend to replace the native operating systems.

    — MDN: June 28, 2007 —
    “Jobs: You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. We have some pilots going with companies with names you’ll recognize. This won’t be a big issue.”

    It is my belief that in a few weeks, when the buzz is fading, we will see a ‘business’ related announcement from Apple, AT&T;and Google. The Apple part of the announcement will be tighter integration with MS Exchange, The AT&T;announcement will be ‘business’ plans and multi-phone discounts and services, and Google will announce the availability of its collaborative business application packages and yearly service plans for business users.

    If Apple opened up the iPhone to individual developers then I think we would see VoIP and VPN applications being quickly ported to the iPhone. Heck, I’m certain that most IT folks would rather have an iPhone than a BlackBerry or Sidekick if they could run their business tools on the iPhone.

    I believe that we will eventually see games on the iPhone, and those games will be written by Apple, Electronic Arts, and possibly Nintendo.

    I’m not so sure about Lotus Notes, I think that Google can cover the same functionality in a web based application.

    One thing that I am certain of, is that Apple is going to be announcing other ‘major’ business partners in the next few months. Some of them will be writing software for the iPhone (under Apples supervision), and the world will slowly begin to realize Steve Job’s idea of a convergence device.

  6. AT&T;willbe one of the companies to control media? Huh? That was worth a good laugh!

    I love the iPhone, but the AT&T;network is an embarrassment in comparison to Verizon…. and the iPhone has it’s faults, like when it’s getting a text or about to ring, it actually TURNS ON my paper shredder below my desk (is this the Enron Executive feature???) as well as it interferes w/ my desk phone…

    and lest we not forget the hobbled TV service AT&T;(using Microshaft half-baked technology) is attempting to roll out on their landline network b/c they don’t have the b@lls to invest & roll out fiber to the home like Verizon is doing w/ FiOS….

    Verizon Wireless’ network is ALL 3G across the country…. They are rolling out fiber right to the home… Let’s face it, Apple ha to settle for the ugly sister after Verizon turned them down…

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