05 November, 2007

It’s true, Google is moving into mobile

google logo

I heard the Google mobile being touted around the time we were providing mobile test consultants to Disney, to help it setup a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) last year. Unfortunately for Disney (and Segala for loosing the contract), it decided to can the project. I say unfortunately because it has the content to deliver a compelling family mobile, but it just didn’t get it technically or commercially in my opinion.

Google however, has the money and entrepreneurship to make it in mobile, especially if it’s goal is anything to do with building the ecosystem and platform to help implement real mobile Web applications.

So, what’s the type about the Google phone?

Google has unveiled the software that will power future mobile phones by acting as the new cost effective operating system that’s likely to trigger a price war. In the US mobile networks such as Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile will carry the Google-powered phones.

China Mobile, Telefonica in Spain and Telecom Italia are among the operators that have signed on to provide services outside the US. So, does this mean that O2 will reap the benefits of Telefonica’s buying power in the UK and Ireland? That would surely provide O2 with an unprecedented head start in the Mobile Web market given that it already has an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone.

According to Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive and chairman

This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world.

As I’ve been saying since the first W3C Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) face to face meeting two years ago when we really started talking about the Web coming to mobile, there are more people in the world who don’t have access to the Web than there are people with access. The vast majority of these people live in developing countries where mobile networks is cheaper to role out than fixed line. This means mobile will be the primary access device to the Web for most people around the world in the (not too distant) future.

In a call to reporters, Schmidt said:

We want to create a whole new mobile experience for users. “Mobile users want the same applications on the phone as they use on the internet. There have been many reports of a so-called Google phone in recent months.

Again I can’t help but feel I’ll be saying ‘I told you so’ to my WAP colleagues in the industry. WAP is good but it’s not the future. I’m confident that if Nokia, Apple and Google all believe that users should and will have a full browsing experience on mobile, then my bet is safe. Although I did articulate my opinion at the first ever European W3C MWI event at BAFTA more than 2 years ago when my bet wasn’t so safe.

Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models.

I’m hoping Google’s new operating system upon which developers can create interoperable applications that will see the end to the crap that is currently being churned out. I mean, why the hell can’t the manufacturers get simple things such as picture messaging right, let alone anything difficult like the Web? Device profiles, I hope, won’t be needed in the future but only time will tell.


BBC via Roam4free on Twitter.


2 Responses to “It’s true, Google is moving into mobile”

  1. DuncanB 8 November 2007 at 5:30 am #

    Hi Paul,

    They have taken there time to enter this market – and going for the operating system as a posed to a client browser explains the delay.

    A word of warning to Google – make sure it works 100% before release to the public – mobile phones are now very much fashion accessories – no one wants to carry around a phone that does not work (iphone), and when they upgrade will they choose the same manufacture !!! Not the hip fashion mobile using youth. (look at handset churn rates).


  2. Paul Walsh 14 November 2007 at 2:16 pm #

    @DuncanB – you honestly think everything will work properly? ;) I think they’re probably rushing it out the door before they get left to far behind the iPhone and other devices that come out as a result of being forced to improve the stuff that’s currently on the market.

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