The Google Phone rumors continue, whipping up a frenzy that some type of announcement about the Gphone is coming within days. It’ll be a phone! It’ll be an operating system! It’ll be bundled software! And everyone is showing various photos that no one has ever confirmed are pictures of an actual Gphone. Below, an updated timeline on all the Google Phone rumors we’ve had over the past few years, along with some perspective on why you are hearing so many conflicting things. Plus worry not, Apple fanboys, Google still loves the iPhone.
First, the timeline. I lied — it’s not below. It’s here: Gphone? The Google Phone Timeline. That’s an article I did back in April, and now I’ve fully updated it to incorporate all the latest craziness. It made more sense to keep it all in one place.
After you read the timeline, you’ll be confused. Don’t worry. Google’s a confused company itself. It has multiple programs going on in general, so it’s no surprise that there are various mobile phone / wireless projects in the works. We’ve seen that they are bundling software on phones. We know they hired mobile phone operating system developers, so releasing something like that wouldn’t be too surprising. We know they want wireless bandwidth and are going after it in at least two different ways, which will likely involve two different types of devices. And they’re still working with the carriers, as well — through multiyear deals that aren’t going to just disappear. And did I mention that free WiFi thing they do in Mountain View?
Google’s covering all the bases through the usual Google way of being both thorough as well as being out-of-touch within the company itself. Think a big with-it company like Google couldn’t operate that way? Go ask those in charge of Google Sitemaps for content submission how well they integrate with Google Base for, um, content submission. They don’t. That’s just one example, and I’m not even trying.
But what about the iPhone! Aren’t Google and Apple buddies? Isn’t Eric Schmidt on Apple’s board? How could Google launch an iPhone killer?
Hey, last week I was on stage interviewing Google vice president of search products and user experience Marissa Mayer. She was whipping out her iPhone and demoing cool stuff you can do with it to reach Google, as well as talking about how iPhone usage seems to have helped spur Google search activity (FYI, Yahoo tells me the same thing). It wasn’t just for public showing. Backstage, she was using the iPhone and talking about it as part of her everyday life.
Two months ago, I watched Eric Schmidt show off his phone that he clearly seemed to be using on a regular basis rather than trotting out as a demo to prop up Steven Jobs’ little company. Both Eric and Marissa seemed to honestly like their phones. I don’t think they’re going to suddenly dump them (or Apple) into the trash can. But Google’s not foolish, either. Google’s not going to tie its mobile future to a company that’s notorious for being very controlling of exactly how its hardware operates. Neither will Google tie it up with one particular carrier such as T-Mobile or Orange.
No, for Google, it’s going to be let a hundred phones bloom — and if Google’s own Gphone catches on, even better.
Hey! Wake up! Don’t forget to checkout the Gphone Timeline.