If there’s one thing true in business it’s that if you create something interesting then someone else is going to try and do something similar. In that way, challengers to the iPhone’s pre-release crown have rolled up and been dismissed, from the mundane – dreary skins for your current smartphone – to the delicately interesting – I’m looking at you, Prada phone. There’s no doubting that some have had more merit than others, but the lusts of the blogosphere keep coming back to Apple’s finest, and if the number of magazines on whose covers the iPhone lurks are anything to go by, the real-world is getting just as obsessed. So tell me, who could put a dent in the iPhone’s side?
According to Simeon’s clandestine source the Google phone will be most definitely smart, a Blackberry-like optimised Java
interface running on top of a C++ and Linux blended core. Google already have ex-Danger (sire of the Sidekick series) Andy Rubin heading a department of 100, likely working on just that. Graphics, courtesy of
2005 acquisition Skia who specialised in Flash-lite portable display engines, might be similar to the leaked screenshot Engadget
received back in January, and provide a naturalistic and eye-candy rich way to access multiple pre-loaded features that include VOIP.
It’s that last part which potentially makes Google’s first cellphone most interesting. Network operators have traditionally been afraid of VOIP or any other technology that might eat away at their precious voice call revenue, and you could imagine them being tentative to the point of obstinance when faced with Google demanding IP-based communications handled by their networks. However, if the rumour that the search engine giant will leverage its own marketing potential to minimise the cost-to-carrier and thus build working relationships with multiple networks (the polar opposite of Apple’s watertight deal with Cingular) to basically “use their pipes” is true, the golden goose of mobile technology – reasonably priced cellular data – may just come home to roost.
Where once network subsidies were the only way to get the latest handset in your pocket, Google’s expertise at targeted
advertising could introduce new flexibility to the industry. Freed from the persistent demand to recoup the initial investment in a new
subscriber, thanks to realistic ad-returns from well selected and appropriate content, the carrier could instead concentrate on expanding coverage and adding tailored value:
“We know if we improve quality, revenue follows” Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive, Google
That’s got to be better for consumer and carrier alike. So far it’s all rumour and suggestion, but I think it’s a pretty fair
presumption that should Google decide to step into the cellphone business it has the potential to cause more upset than even Apple’s