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Google Attack On the Mobile Market Rumored 324

Posted by kdawson
from the first-the-itablet-and-now-this dept.
xchg writes in with a somewhat speculative, though plausible, piece from WiseAndroid claiming that Google is gearing up for an all-out assault on the mobile-phone market that will include a new, Google-branded handset and the first comprehensive Google phone service with unlimited free calls. "The real breakthrough, however, will come with the marriage of the Googlephone to Google Voice, the Californian company’s high-tech phone service. Google Voice gives US users a free phone number and allows unlimited free calls to any phone in the country — landline or mobile. International calls start from... just over a penny a minute. Google Voice also uses sophisticated voice recognition to turn voicemails into emails, can block telemarketing calls automatically and offers free text messaging. Google sounded its intentions two weeks ago when it purchased a small company called Gizmo5... [E]xperts are predicting that the Googlephone will be launched in the US early next year."
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Google Attack On the Mobile Market Rumored

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  • by mruizcamauer (551400) on Friday November 27, 2009 @07:37PM (#30250638) Homepage
    ... of a large industry, telecoms... but that is progress!
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday November 27, 2009 @07:39PM (#30250656) Homepage

    I hate mobile phones and everything about the industry behind them.
    This sounds quite a bit less hate-able.

  • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Friday November 27, 2009 @07:47PM (#30250764) Journal

    What industry abuses their customers, dangles features and incentives of questionable value in a quid pro quo for contractual lock-in and then produces unilateral unpredictable billing and surcharges to this captive market? No. You are right! That describes Credit Card companies, the only business hated more by their customer base than the mobile phone providers.

    They share in common, contempt for the flock they shear.

    Google will succeed because of the venality and arrogance of the incumbent carriers. That's why they chose this market. Google will be a company people like, despite the creeping monopoly of their personal information and continuing erosion of their privacy.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday November 27, 2009 @07:53PM (#30250824) Journal

    What industry abuses their customers, dangles features and incentives of questionable value in a quid pro quo for contractual lock-in and then produces unilateral unpredictable billing and surcharges to this captive market? No. You are right! That describes Credit Card companies, the only business hated more by their customer base than the mobile phone providers.

    What credit card company uses 'contractual lock-in'? I've never seen a credit card that you couldn't cancel at any time.

  • Canada too? I hope (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27, 2009 @07:57PM (#30250848)

    I hope something like this comes to Canada. I would love to see Google wipe the floor with Rogers, Bell, & Telus (a.k.a. The Three Stooges).

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:03PM (#30250892) Journal
    How are they monopolists of information? In fact, have you seen them ILLEGALLY enforce their natural monopoly? Have you seen them do illegal actions to take over markets? If so, please provide the proof of that. Otherwise, Cayate la boca, chica.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:03PM (#30250906) Homepage

    Wait... you mean to get out of a loan with a bank (basically what a credit card is)... I have to pay it off?!?

    Dear god, they're screwing us!

  • Adapt or else (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:05PM (#30250926) Homepage Journal
    Remember when web mail providers were giving like 4Mb of mailbox capacity, and then Google came with 2Gb (oh, yes, and a spam filter that actually worked)? Most providers didnt vanished, just had to adapt and still are here, giving a better service to their costumer. For cellphone industry that is something very needed, someone that come with a disruptive idea and weight enough behind to actually push it. Wont kill all companies, but to survive they will have to improve, not just giving the latest gizmo and charging you a lot.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:27PM (#30251146) Homepage

    They don't get to add $500 "you paid off your card" fees. What amount are you talking about?

    The high interest rates? You agreed to them in the contract. It was a one sided contract, but you agreed. You can pay off your loan at any time and get out of it.

    Should credit cards be able to lend people $25k at 28% interest? Almost certainly not. Does that mean it's OK to take that money and then claim "it was unfair, I demand 7%"? No.

  • by ani23 (899493) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:27PM (#30251154)
    why the mobile phone hate. I think its the single most awesome thing in the last decade. imagine being able to call a loved one from wherever you are and know that you will be able to get through (in most cases). the industry on the other hand . . .
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:34PM (#30251244) Journal

    You have to pay it off, on terms unilaterally adjusted by the lender, on criteria independent of the contract under which you entered the lending agreement.

    Incorrect. When they change the terms of your agreement (interest rate, annual fee, etc.) you are able to avoid said changes by closing the card and paying it off under the previously agreed to terms. You don't have to pay it all off at once either -- you can make the minimum payment that was provided for by your previous account agreement.

    DEFENDING predatory lenders who abuse their customers!

    I don't see them as being predatory. Nobody forced people to run up those credit cards. In fact the new credit card "reform" bill kinda pissed me off. Two of my credit cards are now assessing an annual fee because of this "reform". They can no longer collect penalties from those who become delinquent so now those of us who maintain our accounts in good standing are going to pay the price. I'm left with the choice of eating an annual fee or closing two of my oldest accounts and seeing my credit score drop.

    The only good thing that came out of that legislation was the concealed carry in national parks provision.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:50PM (#30251342)
    what nonsense. of course you have to pay off the money they loaned you (yeah what assholes...). credit cards are a triumph of freedom and consumer choice - there's 100's of offers out there from super low rates to high rates with interest FREE periods and everything in between. you can cancel anytime by just paying them back the money you owe, it doesn't get any fairer. if they put their rates up you get notification, and your free to just chop up the card and pay back the money before the new terms start.

    I've had a CC for about 10 years now and i think i've only ever paid $50 in interest and about $1000 in annual fees, and considering a CC is an unsecured loan i think that's amazingly cheap.

  • by Myopic (18616) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:52PM (#30251356)

    The article says

    For the first time, a single company will control everything from the software in users’ phones to the services they use to make calls and surf the web.

    But wait, every phone I've ever had the hardware, software, and services were controlled 100% by my phone carrier. So in that way, the Google phone would be the same.

    To me, the difference is that I trust the hardware, software, and services from Google, but I don't for a second trust AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. They have proven that they refuse to provide products and services that I want, but Google has proven that they very much understand and want to provide the products and services that I want. I share the privacy concerns about Google, but at this point I'm just being vigilant, watching for Google to violate my trust. So far so good.

    Google! Please put the dinosaurs out of business! I want to stop giving them my money! I want to give you my money for better services!

  • by Flavio (12072) on Friday November 27, 2009 @08:56PM (#30251386)

    Here's the deal: be realistic. No company's going to offer you a "fully open" cell phone simply because there aren't any fully open operating systems for smart phones out there, and rushing something similar to the market would end up in a support nightmare. Nokia's come a long way with Maemo running on the N900, but the user impressions I've read wrt to the N900 make it clear that the software is beta at best, and is lacking features one would consider standard in a smartphone.

    Here's my unsolicited advice: buy an unlocked GSM phone from overseas. My GSM Nokia 5800 can sync over USB or bluetooth, connect me to the Internet over bluetooth using Nokia's Ovi Suite (for Windows) and comes with all the cables you'll need, including the car charger. It's a very affordable smartphone, has great GPS functionality which doesn't require an internet connection to download maps, can play high resolution videos, has a real (albeit kind of slow) web browser and is made by Nokia, which is the most OSS-friendly cell phone manufacturer out there.

  • by jo42 (227475) on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:06PM (#30251444) Homepage

    What is google doing to finance all this

    Google finances everything from their advertising revenue.

    If that ever dries up, they are royally, totally, completely fucked.

    In the meantime, they are royally, totally, completely fucking up every market they blunder into by offering services in that market for free - totally destroying the market for any one or company trying to make money in that market.

    Freetrads love Google because they get stuff for free (as in someone else pays for it). People with half a brain are realizing Google is becoming the greatest corporate evil ever.

    Watch the rabid down-modding being...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:17PM (#30251502)

    And while it is clear to everyone with a clue that this represents a "win" for the consumer, it will be shot down in a matter of months by the Telcos.

    America does not know how to "do" creative destruction. We save the auto industry. We save the energy industry. And we will save the technologically and financially backwards telecom industry when the time comes.

    The Google Phone will be aborted and the consumer (and America) will lose again.

  • by bezenek (958723) on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:21PM (#30251550) Journal
    I assume Google will beta test a phone like this in-house. I will be watching for Google employees carrying something unusual as they walk across the street on the Santa Clara campus.

    -Todd
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:23PM (#30251558) Homepage Journal

    That's not true. At any point you can go to the credit card company and say "Here is the $3874 I owe you" and get out of your contract.

    Did you know that when you do that, the credit card company reports it as negative credit information that lowers your credit score?

    That's right, they penalize you for fulfilling your contract. It's a strategy right out of the loan shark's playbook.

    And when you pay off your entire balance every month, do you know what the credit card companies call you?

    A "deadbeat".

    I'm not making this up.

    The credit card companies are at the top of the list of commercial entities that are openly hostile to their customers. The big phone carriers are right up there, too.

  • by Jawn98685 (687784) on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:35PM (#30251630)
    RTFA, folks. Google is far, far from posing a threat to the wireless carriers. VOIP over Wi-Fi is one thing, but VOIP over 3G wireless (or whatever) is something else entirely, something that the actual carriers have the means, and certainly the motivation, to fuck with at will (as we have already seen). Unless/until Google starts putting up their own towers, there is nothing new here, at least nothing revolutionary or "game changing".
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:21PM (#30251862) Homepage

    You're credit score changing doesn't prevent you from leaving the contract. It doesn't force you to keep paying interest.

    Also, it's entirely possible to not care about your credit score. It only matters if you want to take on debt all the time.

  • by germansausage (682057) on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:13PM (#30252118)
    You think that somebody who advocates joining a financial collective in order to reduce ones borrowing costs is a "Randroid". This both puzzles and amuses me.
  • towers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger (617870) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @12:22AM (#30252424) Homepage Journal

    Yes, I remember that, but I am also thinking of these things called towers. They ain't cheap and you need thousands and thousands of them along with all the cellular electronic radio doo dads (hi tech speak there). I mean, maybe google could pull it off, but it would take all their spare cash, then some to do it.

    The majors let the smaller guys in on the action, but they charge them well, all the pre paid guys, but if google was cutting into their voice plan cash...I doubt they would lease space to them.

    Either way though I want to see much better and cheaper phones, and google and android and linux will help push it..

  • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @02:42AM (#30252912)
    Google makes me nervous as it continues to expand into new markets. I may not like most of the other companies that Google is going up against but they don't bother me. Why not? Because I understand what motivates them: profit and self-interest. That's black and white.

    "Don't be evil", though, that's getting a bit subjective. Sure, most everyone will agree that evil is bad, at least in theory, but in practice coming to an agreement on the definition of evil is difficult. If Google wins, they're subjecting me to their definition of good, which I may or may not agree with. I like my bad guys to be bad...I like knowing they're trying to rip me off and take advantage of me. I don't want them doing things because they think it's best for me.

    In other words, if I'm going to be screwed I want it to be by someone who knows he's screwing me, not by someone who thinks he's doing me a favor.
  • by BountyX (1227176) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @03:23AM (#30253038)
    I don't think Google's market power should be considered destroying industry. They are basically taking from businesses who shouldn't spend so much on advertising and marketing in the first place and giving back to the people with free services. We are talking about reinvesting profits into new markets and challenging incumbent cartels. This is how capitalism should work, markets get constantly redefined by cheaper and better services. Google is not becoming a "corporate evil", this is a confounding statement at best. The reality is Google is the only company willing to challenge and compete with the cartels. That is where the trouble begins. We need to have more companies like Google competing even over free services. Google as a company IS not to blame, the fact that Google is the only one doing these sort of things is the unfortunate issue. I think you will agree that if we as consumers had more options and honest competition, Google probably wouldn't have so much market share.
  • by FlightlessParrot (1217192) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @03:37AM (#30253084)
    You won't get everything you want, but you'll get a fair proportion of it if you buy a phone from somewhere in the Rest of the World.

    I had an HTC Windows Mobile phone here in NZ, and it did a lot of what you want, quite well. I sold it off to get an iPhone, but that's because 1) I could buy it as a bare phone (and it is actually cheaper than some of the alternatives here); 2) I can use it on prepay 3) it has the standard lexicon of Ancient Greek available as an app, which is a killer a. for me.

    I think most of the problems people have with the iPhone in the USA are really carrier problems, but you seem to have some of the shittiest carriers in the world.

  • by bunbuntheminilop (935594) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @04:00AM (#30253154)

    But it annoys me that so many people take on so much debt and then complain that they have to pay it off.

    The windfall of easy credit has been propping the economy up for the last 10 years. You shouldn't let them annoy you so much.

    Well, they WERE, until they stopped.

  • by TikiTDO (759782) <TikiTDO@gmail.com> on Saturday November 28, 2009 @04:41AM (#30253262)

    The problem with these "loans" is that they only become a problem when you can no longer pay them off any time. So effectively you are saying that because you made a mistake, and signed a form you did not fully understand the implications of, you deserve to be continuously punished by the entity that fooled you. In fact, once you have been fooled by these companies, your only real chance to improve your situation is to essentially become a slave and funnel the majority of your money to them.

    True, these people should have known better than to live outside their means. However, the banks most certainly did nothing to explain the situation they were in, until it was far beyond their control. In fact, this could have been a good chance to teach these people about finances, had it been caught, and explained earlier. You may say this is their punishment, but I would counter that this punishment is more extreme than what they would receive had they simply stolen that same money from the bank, and went on a shopping spree.

  • Re:towers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geoskd (321194) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:18AM (#30253362)

    Yes, I remember that, but I am also thinking of these things called towers. They ain't cheap and you need thousands and thousands of them along with all the cellular electronic radio doo dads (hi tech speak there). I mean, maybe google could pull it off, but it would take all their spare cash, then some to do it.

    Most cell towers are not owned by carriers, the carriers merely rent space on the towers from those who do own them. Often you will see a tower in a prime location has all three carriers hanging off it. This means that if google should chose to do so, jumping in would not be as expensive as you think. The key cost is funding your cell network until you get enough users to pay the rents. Kind of a chicken and egg thing. If you don't have the infrastructure, you wont get the users, but you cen't get the infrastructure until you have enough users to pay for it. The cure for this problem is a large influx of cash to tide your company over until your profit model goes black. Already having the fiber and the distributed computing backend is a big step in that direction. I'm guessing that google becoming a national carrier is limited more by antitrust laws, and less by market forces than you might think.

    -=Geoskd

  • by surferx0 (1206364) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @05:26AM (#30253378)

    Credit scores may have value, but the practice mentioned before of paying off your balances on time every month will never lower your score to a point of having any sort of negative impact on your life.

    I'm going to call BS on the whole "deadbeat" thing for someone who practices full balance payoffs and isn't late on payments. The credit card companies may not like they aren't getting a profit from you, but that has nothing to do with how safe of a risk you are for other lenders. The credit score is a risk evaluation, not a profit evaluation.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @06:00AM (#30253448) Journal

    Did you know that when you do that, the credit card company reports it as negative credit information that lowers your credit score?

    -1, factually incorrect. They do no such thing. Reporting 'negative' information that isn't true would be a violation of the fair credit reporting act. Paying off your credit card will not lower your score. It can only raise your score, as one of the key factors of your credit score is the amount of debt you owe vs. your total credit limits. Ideally this value should be less than 15%, though it doesn't really start to hurt you until you exceed 40%.

    Closing an account may hurt your score, as the score model prefers older accounts to newer ones. But that really doesn't have anything to do with paying off your debt. If you pay off your debt and keep the account open your score can only go up. Whether or not it goes down if you close the account depends on a number of different factors -- how much debt you owe on your other accounts, how old they are, how old the closed one was, etc.

    In any case, the credit scores weren't designed by the credit card companies. They were designed by the credit reporting agencies and a company called Fair Issac. None of them happen to be in the credit card business.

    A "deadbeat".

    Who cares what they call you? I pay off all my accounts in full, every month. I don't care if they think I'm a deadbeat. I'm still getting an interest free loan for 25 to 60 days. I'm also getting liquidity -- I can make a purchase without regard to when my next paycheck happens to be.

    The credit card companies are at the top of the list of commercial entities that are openly hostile to their customers

    You are painting with a really broad brush there. I had a WaMu account for five years until they went out of business. They were one of the nicest companies I've ever done business with. My credit union offers credit cards with a fixed 7.9% APR and a single page account agreement that doesn't require a law degree to decipher.

    As with any business, there are good actors and there are not-so-good actors. It's up to you to give your business to the ones that treat you decently. I have no sympathy for someone who is doing business with a "hostile" credit card company when there are so many alternatives that are only a phone call away. You might find this hard to believe but Citi, Chase and Capital One don't have a monopoly on the credit card market. There are alternatives.

  • by rhsanborn (773855) on Saturday November 28, 2009 @10:33AM (#30254410)
    This isn't elementary school, no one has the responsibility to sit you down, and make sure you understood everything in the contract you signed. They are required to provide you a copy of the contract you are agreeing to. If you don't understand any part of it, you shouldn't sign it. If you didn't read it, you shouldn't sign it. It isn't anyone else's responsibility to read your contract for you and make sure you understand it, nor should it be.

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