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Google Releases Experimental Phone To Employees 141

alphadogg, as is his wont, sends in a Network World piece on the resurgent rumors of a Google Phone. "Google has handed out a new mobile phone running its Android software to some employees, stirring another wave of speculation that the oft-rumored Google Phone is real. In a blog post on Saturday morning, Google said the phones are being distributed so that workers can experiment with new mobile features. It did not say the device will be a Google-branded phone. Since even before Google unveiled Android, onlookers have wondered whether the search giant will release its own phone. Instead, it released an open source operating system that other hardware vendors can use to make phones."
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Google Releases Experimental Phone To Employees

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  • Dumb rumors (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Undead Waffle ( 1447615 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:34AM (#30420988)

    We recently came up with the concept of a mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities

    I'm reading this as "some hardware manufacturer invented the big red button and we want our employees to be able to play around with what the software will do when the big red button is pressed." Or maybe they're just talking about faster processors, more memory, or some other somewhat minor upgrade. I see nothing to indicate they're going to enter the phone market themselves especially since it mentions the hardware is from "a partner".

  • by Undead Waffle ( 1447615 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:47AM (#30421044)

    The Wall Street Journal says it's real [wsj.com].

    I was doubtful myself, it seemed really weird that Google would compete against partners like this. It seems like most technical people that would even want Android to start with would flock to this phone and drop the others. Heck, I might even buy one to have something to tether my iPhone to when traveling internationally!!

    I had a chance to try out a Droid, and it was still pretty pokey (especially when using the built in browser). Perhaps the Google phone will finally hit a good performance stride.

    And from that link:

    The phone is called the Nexus One and is being manufactured for Google by HTC Corp.

    But unlike the more than half-dozen Android phones made by phone manufacturers today, Google designed virtually the entire software experience behind the phone

    Subscription required beyond that.

    So it's made by HTC. And "designed virtually the entire software experience" isn't saying much. Sounds like another "myTouch 3G with Google" sort of deal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @04:38AM (#30421248)

    This sounds like SOP for google... set up an open source beta, have everyone test and improve on it, and then begin selling an updated final version. Think about how they used chrome to attract open source devs and now are releasing chrome OS as a separate platform. They also did the same with gmail... collecting a huge amount of users with the beta then released a for fee version for businesses

  • Re:Any good? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beakerMeep ( 716990 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @05:05AM (#30421340)
    I don't know a lot about Exchange, but couldn't you also say it would be really nice for Exchange to support more standards for other devices to connect? (IMAP maybe?). Seems an appropriate devil's advocate question. Cue Keanu Reeves.
  • Re:Dumb rumors (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jabithew ( 1340853 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @05:30AM (#30421410)

    I can't see Google releasing their own hardware; it seems like a Slashdot wet dream. If you look at their current strategy with Chrome (OS) and Android, it seems like their attitude is that if you look after the software, the hardware will look after itself.

    It would also be quite outside their core competence. Google have never done any hardware releases for consumers, and there's no reason at all to expect them to be any good at it.

  • Re:Any good? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @06:35AM (#30421614)

    Google will not release their own phone. Here's why:

    Google likes to dominate the software spectrum. If they release their own phone, then companies will look a bit suspicious at their "you can use our OS too!, fro free!"

    In the end that will result in less Android phones and thus less people that use Google products and less people to click on their adds, which is their main source of imcome anyway.

    The best Android phone I've seen so far is the HTC Hero. It whipes the floor with the iPhone in every aspect. Except for the fact that it doesn't help Microsoft with growing the Exchange user base...

  • Re:Dumb rumors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slifox ( 605302 ) * on Sunday December 13, 2009 @08:01AM (#30421894)
    You're probably right that they won't make the hardware -- at most they'll probably contract HTC to do it...

    The real question is if Google is going to find a way into the cell phone service-provider business... be it on the physical infrastructure side (unlikely), or on the communications service side

    There's been some past /. discussion on this, and what I gathered from it was that Google will put themselves at odds with the infrastructure owners (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc) by forcing them into a data-provider role rather their current communications-provider role (which is much more lucrative -- e.g. charging $0.10 for a 160-byte text message).

    The speculation stems from the Google Voice service, but I think they can get away with that because they're still making use of the cell providers' telephone network, and not turning everything into "just data". I can't see the current monopolies being particularly happy if Google takes any further steps in this direction, though. Then again, the cell phone service-providers sorely need a competitor to force them to provide better service (e.g. AT&T no longer investing in their oversold 3G network because they're focusing on 4G planning).
  • Re:Any good? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @03:27AM (#30428662)

    Try to register a name like Vincent on a website with more than a million users...

    Maybe I should have chosen BasementLaserLord instead?

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.