It is obvious that Google is going to embrace mobile applications very, very powerfully in the coming year and it looks like Google has a great first iPhone effort with their new search application featuring a lot of automated guessing so you can avoid the most painful part of the mobile experience – typing.
Of course things are *really* going to get interesting this fall or early next year when a new Google mobile phone will come out. Although Google has produced branded hardware for some time in the form of search appliances these had an extremely limited distribution. The upcoming “G Phone” will be a *huge* success if it offers iPhone functionality at a lower price. I think the latest assumption is that a Google phone will be made by HTC for Dell though I have not checked in on this recently. I think the Google branding factor will be incredibly powerful, and predict that *most* users will choose a “Google gPhone” over an “Apple iPhone” assuming similar features and cost. This isn’t to suggest the iPhone market cannot exist alongside a gPhone, and clearly the iPhone is the mobile device to beat, so the game is very much on right now in terms of smartphone competition. Sprint’s new “Instinct” is an excellent device with many advantages over the old iPhone (e.g. Geolocation), though I think we’ll see functionality in these devices converge as early as next year with no compromises for users. Computing is rapidly moving to mobile.
Here is a demo of the iPhone application at the Google Mobile Blog