Here is a great early review by Walt Mossberg on the new Google phone. His initial take seemed to be that it’s not as stylish as the iPhone or as good with media, but the keyboard and interface are nice and this may be the better choice for Google centric phonesters.
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
Early reports are suggesting that the Android operating system will be very “developer friendly”. Android is promoted and supported by Google for the crop of new phones coming this fall. The OS will be very open for developers and robust, suggesting we’ll see a lot of great innovation in this space very soon, innovation that is consistent with Google’s very open architecture standards (except in search!)
The Android Guys are reporting on the design of the Google Phone from T Mobile and it’s looking pretty impressive. They also link to a spec sheet showing the phone will have a sizeable screen, pull out keyboard, 3 megapixel camera, and more.
I’m glad to have been correct to suggest the phone would make it out before next year and expect this to be a very popular 2008 Christmas Gift, even if the pricing is higher than I expect which is $150-$250 or perhaps even less to undercut the Apple iPhone market.
This earlier-than-announced launch is probably very bad news for Sprint’s instinct and other smartphones, as it is likely that we’ll see the smartphones of choice become either Apple or Android based phones.
Not sure where they got this video, but I think this HTC Dream has a good chance of becoming ….
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.
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.
Update: The headlines are misleading. This phone is not by Google, but will be able to run “Android”, the Googley operating sytem from the Open Handset Alliance. This is an important development but different from a true phone from Google.
There are reports that a Google Phone or gPhone will be out shortly. Here are some pictures. There is not much buzz about this yet so I’m not clear about the source of these rumors, but it makes sense to me that Google will put something out much earlier than the “middle of 2008” we’ve seen in a lot of reports.
Based on the early pix I’m not sure this device is going to win any design awards – looks more like a geek design than the stylish iPhone design that has helped make Apple the clear “smartphone to beat” and brought them such success in this market. However on balance I think that *cost* will be the key. If the gPhone can come in under $100 and do all the neat things promised by Android and the Open Handset Alliance, I think it’ll be so broadly adopted as to be an unstoppable mobile force.
The Wall Street Journal has (ummm – just figured out?) that Google’s phone ambitions are substantial. It’s not yet clear if they’ll become their own huge phone company, but I’m guessing they will and that they will do a good job solving some of the nagging problems that have been experienced by .. lets see now … 99.9% of all cell users? I do not think this necessarily bodes well for Google financially though, and release of hardware and a national cellular network may be part of their “jumping the shark” moment. Google has thrived as a company that could ramp up as profits rolled in. Not so with mobile, where they will have to anticipate a lot of profit and incur huge capitalization costs in a “bet” that they can capture enough of this market to turn a big buck. Clearly Google is already going to influence this market quite a bit by spearheading the open handset alliance and other open architecture initiatives, but it’s not clear their bottom line would have a huge positive impact even when you anticipate the revenue from advertising (currently small but sure to grow) and revenue from subscribers (currently huge but capital and labor intensive).
I’m torn between thinking Google clearly will fix many technical challenges with the hardware (I see even cheap phones as iPhone clones with great mapping and data and more), but Google has done a simpy *terrible* job of basic customer service over the years, feeling that if a problem solving thing can’t scale up then they won’t put much energy into that problem. Typically this has related to advertiser problems with adwords and webmaster problems with websites. Google has made some improvements as they hired legions of people to deal with customer service, but I cannot see Google handling millions of calls along the lines of “now, which button do I press to dial my sister in Toledo?”. Google culture is not compatible and will become impatient with the slow, labor and capital intensive mobile landscape. Maybe they’ll change it into something better. Maybe they won’t.
In any case they’ll bring some great phone online and as I’ve noted before I’m very excited about that.
The Android SDK is out. This would be geek speak for saying “let the cell phone games begin”, and perhaps market speak for “Palm’s Dead and Symbian is probably screwed”.
The Androids haven’t just landed though, they are bearing suitcases stuffed with cash for developers who bring neat applications to market. This is more of the normal Google cleverness at work. Don’t just make it free, *pay* people to make it, and make it better than anything that has come before. Brilliant!
Unselfish of Google? Hardly. With their lock-grip on online advertising don’t forget who will be the big winner in a world saturated with mobile users surfing around a lot more stumbling upon super relevant geo-targeted pay per click advertising. For those of you in the back of the class, that winner would be …. Google.
Over at Om’s blog somebody in the comments suggested that Open Handset seemed like a solution looking for a problem, which seemed very ill informed to me. It solves two big problems – crappy phones that will soon be like iPhones, but much cheaper, and it will bring more organization and convergence to our harried digital lifestyle by blending mobile and online worlds more effectively than the current players have managed to do.
Maybe I’m missing something but I agree with those who see the Open Handset Alliance approach as a profound sea change in mobile, and something that will shake things up quickly (though not necessarily the prize money because $10,000,000 is a drop in the bucket of cash at stake here – over a trillion dollars in the coming decade. )
I’m *already* anxious to get rid of my nasty Palm Treo software (and maybe the whole phone) given that it won’t even synch anymore without me losing all my data. I envision a mobile future where my phone, PC, GIS, picture, and online needs all merge *seamlessly*, are accessible from all my devices easily and without any extra steps, and where I pay *nothing* for services in exchange for viewing ads or pay something if I want to get rid of the ads.
Open Handset is going to make that happen fast, and I wish them well.