Feeds

Google builds own phone

More carrier disruption

The Power of One Infographic

Looks like Google is again trying pull US telcos round to its way of thinking, this time with plans underway for a handset optimized for its online services.

The precocious Silicon Valley company has reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars prototyping cell phones tailored to its search, email and a planned new browser.

According to reports, the Googlephone features a camera, built-in WiFi, 3G and GPS capabilities.

Google has also talked to cellcos over handset specs and made overtures to companies such as T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

Google doesn't plan to charge a licensing fee to OEMs or operators and has suggested phones carry the Google brand next to that of the operators or could be distributed without the Google name.

The search giant has already held talks with Orange in Europe, over similar plans.

News of the Google phone lends further credence to those who believe Google’s next step is to become a phone and internet service provider. The company has been widely reported to be buying up dark fiber across the US.

Those apparent aspirations became clearer with the proposal to offer the US government $4.7bn in return for the soon-to-be vacant 700MHz wireless spectrum.

Owning a chunk of telecoms infrastructure could save Google from paying US telcos to run its search traffic on their networks, in the post net-neutrality era.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has dismissed Google's own attempts to influence carrier policy at a regulatory level. Google tried to get the regulator to alter the service terms for the winner of the 700MHz spectrum auction by attaching conditions to its own bid.

Google wanted the regulator to specify the winning bidder must give users freedom to connect any devices to the network, download any software, and the carrier must be prepared to sell of chunks of the spectrum to third parties wholesale.

Apparently, the FCC didn’t like being told what to do and Google’s terms were rejected in a move that could make a Google bid even more likely.

With a phone, though, Google could divide and conquer the carriers that would certainly have encouraged the FCC to reject its open network proposal. Chief executive Eric Schmidt said earlier this year that mobile ads are twice as profitable as those through a PC, because the ads are more personal.

The offer of additional cash would certainly appeal to some carriers, but would leave others conflicted as Google would be viewed as a potential competitor.

All this comes barely a month after Apple took its first step towards building a third business on the back of the telco sector, with the launch its iPhone on AT&T's rather poor Edge network.®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.