There’s something out there. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is planning on selling some kind of Android-based phone online, directly to consumers starting next calendar year. Whether that’s the phone that some Google employees have been tweeting about testing over the weekend is not clear yet, but it seems pretty likely.
Possible online carrier selection
The least clear part of the Google phone’s emergence is exactly how it will related to carriers. Some have suggested that consumers will simply be able to choose their carrier when they purchase their phone online. Others have suggested that Google will choose to sell directly to consumers even though selling unlocked phones that way has historically worked very, very badly in the U.S. (just ask Nokia about their two flagship stores that recently closed). Strangely, there’s very little speculation about any Voip solutions or applications being incorporated into the new Google phone.
Possible subsidization through mobile ads
One way many analysts are suggesting that Google is going to defray the cost of the Google phone is the way the defray the cost of everything: advertising. Kevin Burden, an analyst at ABI Research broke it down like this, “Google doesn’t want to be in the phone business or the mobile carrier business, so this must be about something else, and that’s the advertising business, since Google is in the business of selling ads.
Engadget is also reporting that the phone will feature Google Goggles which is simultaneously terrifying and alluring application that allows Google to look up things based on what you show it through the camera. Point the camera at the Golden Gate Bridge, and your phone will know what you’re pointing at. Skynet much?
Reports from the tech mavens over at Engadget have suggested to some possible specs for the Google phone, but, of course, Google has confirmed none of this publically as of yet. They’re saying that the device will probably have an OLED display a little bigger than the iPhone’s, trackball, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, and a microSD expansion slot.