Google Phone Coming … Today


The widely anticipated debut of the Google Smart Phone is today.   The phone will be made my HTC, sold by TMobile, and run by Android the open source operating system.    Offering free email service to all subscribers, It appears Google and Tmobile are going after the blackberry market more than iPhone which sounds like a clever plan to me.    Apple users are very loyal and very unlikely to move away from their beloved iPhones.    Blackberry and Treo users will be looking closely at the new phone and I think in many cases happy to move to a better phone (me certainly included as a Treo user).

More from PC Magazine, including some Google Phone pictures

Googley iPhone Goodness


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

Google blog

Using Cell Phones in China


This post is about how to use your cell phone in China.    I’m having more trouble than I thought finding out the procedure but here’s what I think I know so far:

* You must have a GSM phone:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_System_for_Mobile_Communications  My Treo 650 meets this standard.

* You must have the phone unlocked before the trip.  Usually this is done by your provider.   In my case this is Sprint

* In some cases you can buy an international calling plan from the providers.

* Cheaper service appears to come via SIM cards you can purchase online or in China.  These seem to cost about $30 and include some phone time as well as reductions in per minute costs for international calling.     I’m seeing about .18 per minute China to USA which I think is much cheaper than I’ve had with an International Calling plan.

* China Mobile is the big daddy cellular provider in China

Note – I’ll try to revise this and fix mistakes as I figure this out.

The Price of Danger: $500,000,000


Microsoft just picked up Danger, inventor of the Sidekick mobile device and overall very clever mobile company founded by Andy Rubin who is now working for Google on Android and Open Handset Alliance stuff.

Om Malik is quoting the price as 500MM after what his reasearch showed was 225MM in past injections of capital.   

Although at first glance everybody thinks these deals make huge money for everybody associated with them, this is not the case.   As we’ve noted before average VC deals  *lose money*, and more importantly you always need to factor time into these equations to make sense of the profitability of a deal.

In this Danger sale people made out well, but depending on when the big money was invested it’s not clear anybody had a spectacular return here unless the big money came in very recently (I don’t know if it did or not).

Why would MS want this company?   As with the Yahoo aquistion and as MS has done for so long, they are trying to gain a huge foothold in key markets by buying up a key company in the space.    I’m expecting some competition for the Google/Dell phone to be announced soon.

       

ATT – what are you flinging again?


Techdirt notes that the USA Today title “ATT Flings cellphone network wide open” is quite a bit of hype given that it’s been open for 3 years.     Although the article itself notes that this is really nothing big and new, it is an indication that many of the wars are now faught on the marketing battlefields and not the technological ones. 

Also yet another sign that titles to grab attention are becoming increasingly misleading, especially in the blog world.   Even the title of this post is – frankly – somewhat misleading, as was my recent suggestion about Andrew Seybold’s competence during a recent PBS interview, for which he just took me to task in his newsletter.  

But hey I’m in elite company – he’s also pissed at Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt for suggesting that physical limitations on the wireless spectrum won’t post insurmountable challenges to the coming internet convergence.  

Google tells me I’m going to win the spectrum auction! w00t! ?


Screw Ed McMahon and Publishers Clearinghouse, Google has assured me that you and I are going to win the multi billion dollar spectrum auction coming up at the FCC.   I just hope I can resell it to Google after we win because I have yet to build my new amazing Google phone.

Actually I really am rooting for Google, and they really do have a point that the mobile marketplace has become far too stuffy from the stench of expensive cologne and Brooks Brothers suits.  

I want to see the clever T-shirt and sandals crowd at Google take a bite out of this market, and my mobile bill, and I want the Open Handset Alliance to bring all the great innovation they have promised in this space.

Google, don’t let us down.

Seybold on wireless = early senility?


Update:  Andrew Seybold’s reply:  http://www.andrewseybold.com/blog.asp?ID=132

Tonight PBS covered the smart phone market, and asked for input from Andrew Seybold.   He should have been a great choice and clearly has an insider view, so how could he say something this transparently absurd? 

ANDREW SEYBOLD: As much as I respect Google, the wireless industry can’t be an extension of the Internet because wireless bandwidth is finite. It’s a fixed resource, and it is shared bandwidth. The more people who use it in a given area, the less data speed they have.

Andrew, with all due respect – and considerable respect is due, I think you’ve missed something profound here.    Sure, wireless capacity must increase to accommodate all the data, and it certainly will.    There are already technologies like WIMAX and EVDO that will scale up to meet demand, and it’s likely that improvements and new technologies will emerge very fast in response to this cash rich, market.   In any case, it is now *crystal clear* that all players in this space are moving to converge the phone experience with the internet experience.    It is not clear exactly how that will shake out and eventually become seamless, but you are suggesting this is not even the *direction* in which things are moving.  

ERIC SCHMIDT: I completely disagree with the characterization that somehow the wireless network is going to be any different than the wired network, because there’s enormous spectrum becoming available through licensing programs, better radio design, faster computers, and so forth.

Thank you Eric, you are absolutely right.  In fact I expect you already have several plans in place to make the higher speed and broader bands available to prospective gPhones and Google Phones and Android equipped phones.