The Mobile Apps Are Great, but the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' Dial Function Really Makes It
In a press conference following Google Analyst Day, company Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin confirmed Google’s plans to bid in the FCC’s upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction, but declined to discuss the mobile-phone strategy that might make use of it–apparently leaving that task to The Wall Street Journal.
According to a report in the publication today, Google will officially disclose its long-anticipated plans for Google-powered phones within the next two weeks. The devices will reportedly feature Google’s standard mobile applications (Maps, etc.) and more interestingly, a customized open-source operating system, which would allow third-party developers to build applications beyond those offered by Google. From the Journal:
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. 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.
“Developers could, for instance, more easily create services that take advantage of users’ Global Positioning System location, contact lists and Web-browsing habits. They also would be able to interact with Google Maps and other Google applications. The idea is that a range of new social networking, mapping and other services would emerge, just as they have on the open, mostly unfettered Web. Google, meanwhile, could gather user data to show targeted ads to cellphone users.”
And don’t forget the mobile commerce element. Google-powered phones might even offer customers a way to pay for goods from vending machines and retailers via text message.
Anyway … The company has approached a number of handset makers and wireless operators about partnering in the effort, which it hopes to bring to market by the middle of 2008.