Google-branded smartphone to be subsidized by T-Mobile USA and also sold unlocked in early January

“Google Inc. plans to sell two versions of its own-branded cellphone: one with a service contract with T-Mobile USA and another that is unlocked, a source familiar with the matter said,” Nicola Leske and Alexei Oreskovic report for Reuters.

“The phone, manufactured by HTC, has a number of code names such as HTC Passion, Dream or Nexus One and could be available directly though the Google website as early as Jan. 5, according to the source,” Leske and Oreskovic report.

“Media reports have said that Google will sell an unlocked version of the touchscreen phone, allowing consumers to pick a carrier of their choice to provide wireless service,” Leske and Oreskovic report. “Another version will be linked to Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA, which will subsidize the cost of the phone for U.S. consumers who agree to a service contract, the source said. Pricing details were not available.”

Leske and Oreskovic report, “Until now, Google has partnered with many handset makers by offering its open-source Android software as a freely available operating system for smartphones.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And what of Google’s zuned “partners” like beleaguered Motorola? Google must’ve run the numbers on Droid and the rest of the Android handsets vs. iPhone and seen a future they do not like. Google move to try Google-branded cellphones, if true, reeks of desperation.

35 Comments

  1. Still not sure I believe this story, but if it is true… “Don’t Be Evil”, eh Google? Who could have predicted you’d be quicker to zune your mobile phone partners than Microsoft themselves?

  2. What could Google possibly be worried about ? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> Google has Admob. Isn’t that enough to control the mobile market ?

    Meanwhile, an idea occurs to me … What to do with Apple’s server farm in North Carolina ? Apple could start its own advertising network.

  3. The new google phone could coexist with their partners. It could offer leadership, and expand the market. It would only be Microsoft-ian if google decided to arbitrarily make apps incompatible between their phone and their partners, the way Microsoft made Zune DRM music incompatible with the DRM music used by it’s partners.

  4. “What could Google possibly be worried about ? Google has Admob. Isn’t that enough to control the mobile market ?”

    Not sure what point you intended to make, Google NEVER needed to be in the Phone business to sell ads. Now they make their own OS to push their Google Services. Sure, cool.

    But this still isn’t a Google Phone. Google doesn’t make hardware. Its just an Android phone. Made by HTC.

  5. That’s the other shoe.

    If Apple builds a good search engine and makes it the default on Safari (Mac & iPhone), they automatically take the top end of the market for search. Advertisers would be stupid to ignore consumers with the most spending power, Apple has those consumers.

  6. “But this still isn’t a Google Phone. Google doesn’t make hardware. Its just an Android phone. Made by HTC.”

    No one makes their own hardware anymore. Okay, so Apple designs their iPhone hardware, but they don’t make it.

    This is totally a Zune move — stabbing your platform partners in the back.

    I think it will definitely slow adoption of Android. I would assume Motorola will eventually stop selling Droids and pursue something different for a platform strategy. Certainly make Palm a more desirable takeover target.

  7. Desperation? No. but Fragmentation is the big worry. Google must have decided to offer a “standard” product to try to get all OEM’s and telcos to follow its lead. but the effect will be just the opposite. instead they will all have to offer something quite different to compete and push their own services, stores, etc. and the telcos do not want to compete simply on plan pricing.

    instead Google should have published a limited “open spec” that they will specifically write all Google software to fit. that might have worked.

    consumers will soon be totally confused.

    btw, is the unlocked phone GSM or CDMA? or both?

  8. “If Apple builds a good search engine and makes it the default on Safari (Mac & iPhone), they automatically take the top end of the market for search.”

    Absolutely so, disposableidentity! I’ve been wondering what all those servers in North Carolina will be doing next year. Sure hope this is part of their activity.

  9. …”Google doesn’t make hardware. Its just an Android phone. Made by HTC.”

    Well, not necessarily. The iPhone isn’t made by an Apple factory; it’s made by Foxconn in China. Since the Google phone story broke out, it has been suggested that Google engineers designed/specified the hardware specifications, and that HTC is essentially manufacturing handsets according to those specifications. The difference is in the details: Apple has a sizable division that does engineering and design. They select components and chipsets that are currently available on the market (why re-invent the wheel for Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM, etc) and integrate them with CPU, memory, other controller circuits into a unique hardware design. They turn the blueprints over to Foxconn and those guys design and build the assembly line and start churning out iPhones.

    The main question here is, how much of a proprietary engineering was done by Google, and how much by HTC. It is most likely that HTC did for Google what they do for carriers – design a mobile phone hardware with the OS and feature set as specified by the requestor (carrier / Google). There is that remote possibility, though that Google engineers had their hand in designing the hardware itself as well, though.

  10. …”Fragmentation is the big worry. Google must have decided to offer a “standard” product to try to get all OEM’s and telcos to follow its lead. but the effect will be just the opposite.”

    Very much so. If Google hopes that Android will become Windows of the smartphones, they will be faced with two possible outcomes:

    1. In order to be truly completely compliant with Google’s “reference model”, other handset makers will have to differentiate their devices mainly on price (i.e. Dell, Acer, HP in the Windows world), or try and build “value-added element” that would be enough of a differentiator (Sony Vaio); or,

    2. Forgo the full compliance with that reference model and just use the OS to build a handset that would stand out with unique set of features and capabilities. This is where the fragmentation comes into play.

    Either way, hardware makers will be in a very challenging position, trying to figure out how to out-maneuver Apple this late in the game. Realistically, though, Google’s Android OS is probably still their best bet, as WinMob is very quickly becoming inconsequential, and Web OS had barely even registered on the radar and isn’t even an OEM option anyway.

  11. GhoneAds launch announced by goog!

    A phone supported totally by advertisements (just like a newspaper)!

    In honor of the trend of blended naming schema, the “g” from google has been blended with “hone” from the word “phone” an the word “Ad” in honor of the time tested advertisement supported news industry!

    Let us offer a hearty welcome to
    drum roll please

    GhoneAdsI

    A phone supported totally by advertisements (just like a newspaper)!

    In honor of the trend of blended naming schema, the “g” from google has been blended with “hone” from the word “phone” an the word “Ad” in honor of the time tested advertisement supported news industry!

    Let us offer a hearty welcome to
    drum roll please

    GhoneAds!

    In response to questions, a company spokesperson conformed (?sp) that gOOn and gOOne had both been rejected as alternate names because market testing had shown the pronunciation hoped for by Schmidt, Page, and Brin had to be explained to every one of the participants of the studies with the phrase “sounds like cone” and it was concluded the cost to change the pronunciation throughout the English speaking world via advertising would be prohibitive.

  12. I one way this is a good move by Google being that they are setting out to create a standard for their OS, but still allowing 3rd party developers to continue to tweek their OS for their hardware. I’m certain this will lead to branching out on the Android tree, but the best of the best can easily be incorporated into their standard just as Apple can look at the various software trends that have happened for the iPhone’s app store and start to incorporate it into the base software. Google’s game is a bit trickier since they can easy create enemies from their partners since they are now able to push changes in their phone that third party wouldn’t be entitled to. Moto must be somewhat steamed!

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