Gphone? The Google Phone Timeline

Rumor after rumor after rumor keeps appearing that Google is to release its own mobile phone, the Gphone. In April 2007, we originally compiled all these Google Phone rumors into a timeline view. Since then, we’ve continued to update the list, so that the confused, perplexed or just plain curious can keep track of what’s come out when. Enjoy!

NOTE (Nov. 5, 2007): Google’s Android Arrives: Not Gphone But An Open Source Mobile Platform covers the actually announcement that all these rumors have led up to.

  • December 2004 – Too Many Fragmented Devices: Google VP Urs Hoelzle spoke of mobile growth being stalled because of too much fragmentation. "What’s holding back the big revolution is that every device is different. There is software out there for at least 300 different platforms and that’s not a good situation and that will prevent the emergence of widely used applications," he said. That prompted some (and here) to wonder if Google would look at doing their own phone.
  • August 2005 – Google Buys Phone Software Company & Operating System Coming?: News emerged that Google had purchased Android in July 2005. Android was a start-up focused on making software for mobile phones, including a rumored mobile operating system. Could this be a precursor to Google offering its own phone, some wondered?
  • January 2006 – Google Gets CDMA Patent: News that Google gains a patent to make CDMA data transfers happen at a faster speed. The patent was requested way back in 2001, however.
  • November 2006 – Schmidt Says Phones Should Be Free: Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells Reuters that "Your mobile phone should be free" with ads subsidizing the cost. However, he says Google has no plans to directly give away phones.
  • December 2006 – Rumor Of Google Working With HTC & Orange On Phone: The Observer reports news that Google is talking with Orange about a revolutionary "Google phone" made by HTC. Google & Orange Talking Google Mobile Phone? from me covers more about how it seemed like this would really be more about a bundling and branding deal than some radical new product.
  • January 2007 – Picture Of Google-Samsung "Switch" Phone: Engadget runs with a tip of a Samsung-Google backed phone named "Switch." The tip comes complete with a picture. Google had just signed a bundling deal with Samsung (more below), but this rumor would go beyond that.
  • February 2007 Google Goes After Airwaves: Microsoft, Google & Others To Build New Wireless Device? from us covers how Google is one of several companies looking to make a wireless device that uses radio spectrum opened up at TV stations go digital.
  • March 6, 2007 – Renewed Speculation Off Analysis Of Rumors & Tips : More Google Phone Rumors from us covers how Simeon Simeonov speculated on what a Google Phone might have, including a Linux-based operating system, based on looking at various developments and rumors. His post now appears gone, but you can see the speculation it kicked off via Techmeme.
  • March 13, 2007 – New Picture & Info Of Google-Samsung Device (Again): More Pictures Of Possible Google Phone? from us provides yet another picture of a rumored Google phone, which most believe is something completely made-up. The picture, that is. The rumor of the device itself comes off a survey someone says they took part in, which asked about a Google phone that would be designed by Samsung.
  • March 16, 2007 – Exec Confirms Wireless Device Activity: Google Phone Has Been Confirmed By Google Exec from us covers how Google’s chief in Spain and Portugal confirms that Google is working on some type of a wireless device.
  • March 21, 2007 – No Phone, Just Software (Sort Of Again): No Google Phone But Instead Mobile Software, Says Google from us covers Google spinning back the statement of March 16, saying there is no phone coming, that the company is staying software focused.
  • March 21, 2007 – Talking With O2 About Gphone: More rumors, this time off a Guardian article saying that Google is talking with O2 about making a "Gphone" and having hired the team that created T-Mobile’s popular Sidekick.
  • March 22, 2007 – More Patents Emerge: New Google Mobile Phone Search Patent Applications from us covers more patents relating to mobile from Google.
  • March 28, 2007 – More Partnerships: Google Partners With LG & Mobile Handset Maker Deal Chart from us covers the various partnerships Google’s had with handset makers, including Samsung, and how so far these are tied mainly to preloading applications.
  • April 18, 2007 – HTC Making Google Handsets (Again): DigiTimes reported that HTC was making Google handsets that will ship at the end of 2007: "The Google handset will support Texas Instruments’ (TI) 3G platform and EDGE, pointed out the makers. The handset, however, will not feature GPS functionality. The device will also feature built-in G-mail and Google search." Orange was said to be the first partner for the Google branded phone, but other carriers might also offer it. Engadget and Mad4MobilePhones also had some coverage. The reports are similar to what came out in December 2006.
  • May 3, 2007 – Google Goes After Different Airwaves: Google Leading Wireless Challenge Against Broadband Incumbents covers how Google starts lobbying for the FCC to make a government auction of radio spectrum to be freed up for up-and-comers looking to provide new services. It seems a natural way for Google to get wireless devices into the hands of people without having to worry about "incumbent" cell phone companies.
  • May 21, 2007: Google Talking With O2 (Again): More Rumors: Yahoo After Bebo? Google Launching Phone Service? covers TechCrunch hearing that Google will strike a deal with O2 to become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). Google is not expected to sell the service via physical stores, but rather online only. Nokia handsets with Google software preloaded would be offered.
  • June 1, 2007: It’s An Operating System, Stupid (Again): Google Provides More Hints On Mobile Phone Rumors covers the latest rumors, which go back to stuff we’d heard before already, that Google’s focusing on applications for various phone systems as well as its own mobile phone operating system.
  • July 3, 2007: No GPhone, But How About A YouPhone?: LG To Create A YouTube Mobile Phone covers how LG is expected to launch a phone, well anytime now, in Europe allowing for recording, uploading and watching video on YouTube.
  • July 25, 2007: The Google Mobile Phone Network?: What’s Google Doing At An MVNO Show? covers Google showing up (along with Yahoo) at a show for those running "virtual" mobile networks that piggyback on the mobile networks of others. Google says it’s there just to talk to vendors, not to launch its own network.
  • July 26, 2007: Google & Sprint Partner: Sprint Announces WiMax Partnership With Google covers Google partnering with Sprint on a new national broadband network that Sprint is constructing.
  • August 1, 2007: Setback On Those Different Airwaves: Google Gets Some Of What It Wanted From The FCC covers the FCC not agreeing to all Google hoped for in the upcoming auction of airwaves. Darn!
  • August 2, 2007: It’s An Operating System, Stupid (Again, Again): Wall Street Journal: Google Phone In Development covers the WSJ saying Google is talking to a wide-range of mobile companies in the US and Europe about a phone designed to run its applications, either through a set of standard specifications.
  • August 6, 2007: Setback On Those Original Airwaves: Microsoft, Google Suffer Setback On ‘White Space’ Internet Access Plan covers that cool, stealthy device that was supposed to make use of unused airwaves. The FCC didn’t think it worked so well. Microsoft And ‘White Space’ Coalition To Try Again On Internet Access Plan covers how the group will be trying again, as does Google Explains The ‘White Space Coalition’ And Its Push For Unused TV Spectrum Internet Access.
  • August 24, 2007: Two Weeks To Gphone Day!: Is A Google Phone ‘A Fortnight Away’? covers how the Business Standard says a Gphone will be coming within two weeks to launch within the US, Europe and India.
  • August 27, 2007: There Really Is A Gphone Thingamajig, Promise!: Rizzn posts that that an internal contact confirms there is some type of Gphone device using Linux and GPS, similar to what we heard back in March.
  • August 27, 2007: HTC Is Making It (Again, Again): CrunchGear posts that an HTC insider confirms there’s a Gphone coming that HTC is producing, expected to be released in the first quarter of 2008. This is similar to rumors we had in December 2006 and April 2007.
  • August 28, 2007: It’s An Operating System, Stupid (Again, Again, Again): Remember back in August 2005 when it was rumored Google was working on a mobile operating system? And then we had more rumors saying this. Engadget today says they’ve heard that Google’s working on, um, a mobile operating system. They also report hearing some type of news will come out next week.

Confused? Let A Hundred Google Phones Bloom gives you some perspective on the timeline, as of August 28, 2007.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Gary Franz

    I don’t use the site enough to know the comments scheme, so I’m sure someone else has already commented to this idea, but it seems clear that at least one of the “secret apps” Google has been working on is the interactive mapping features Google has created for the Apple iPhone. I’ll be surprised if they aren’t working on ways to port the app to the LG and Nokia variants on the touch-screen theme, but such devices are ripe for Google ingenuity – I very much look forward to the day I have the ability to carry around a device that can get me the functionality I have with a computer any where I have cell service.

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