Computer World says that Google may market an iPhonesque mobile device next year. I bet it’ll be great. I wrote an article over at the TechDirt Insight Community about this a few months ago (before the news from Computerworld – I didn’t realize Google had a phone project in the hopper already).
Here’s what I wrote over there in response to an insight community issue:
Google is in a spectacular position to launch a mobile device for many reasons, here are three:
1) Branding power. Google is already verb “to search online” and could become a noun with the “Google” handheld broadband/phone/pda.
2) Speed of development due to corporate structure.
3) Existing prototype.
Apple’s iPhone already exists as a new standard for this type of device, effectively saving years of prototyping. The Google device will have all this functionality PLUS better web integration (thanks to Google’s greater familiarity with online systems and also will have a LARGER touchscreen, which will ultimately determine the winner in this category because browsing ease is the greatest appeal of these devices.
Apple has hyped and branded this type of device already. However, it will have poor initial adoption due to cost and competition from inferior but similar devices. Google can subsidize the devices in part by letting this device Google’s mobile advertising platforms, undercutting Apple’s cost by hundreds of dollars per device.
Features and functionality: Much like the Apple iPhone, the device would have a relatively large touchscreen interface (but larger than iPhone – a key marketing point for the Google). Flexible web browsing without mobile programming required for sites. The device will provide a quality phone, high quality camera, and have PDA functionality. Pictures, voice, and PDA functions will automatically integrate with an online control panel the user can access from the device or from any computer. Google mail and Calendar online entries would synch with the device to allow offline mailing and calendar access. This feature would also serve to enhance Google’s existing Calendar and mail which suffer from “only available online” challenges.
What would you do to make it a valuable addition to the Google product portfolio?
Mobile advertising is an explosive market, and without hardware control Google may lose market share to companies that have hardware advantages. Also, for reasons stated above Google could create a superior device, thus winning both as a hardware and as an advertising provider.
Good luck Google. As a stockholder in Yahoo I sure wish they would create this type of thing but I fear … they won’t or can’t. Google can.