In what now has become an almost weekly industry exercise in anticipation and speculation, the Wall Street Journal writes about the forthcoming unveiling of Google’s plans for its (Phone/OS) mobile launch (“within the next two weeks”). The interesting new aspect of the piece is the idea of the OS/software as an open development platform for third parties (a la the iPhone).
Here’s the relevant discussion from the article:
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.
This open platform notion could make the Google mobile OS/phone highly desirable from a consumer and developer perspective, depending on the user experience and the apps that ultimately are built for it.
Postscript Vanessa Fox: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is in talks with Verizon about carrying the Google-OS powered phone. The information comes from “a person familiar with the discussions”, although Google declined to comment on the rumor.