More gPhone Rumors: London Times, Harold & Kumar

Whoops did I say Harold & Kumar?

kumar-droid

I meant Kumar. As in Ashok Kumar of Northeast Securities. The same Ashok Kumar featured in the “According to Idiots” article with Michael Cote who graciously proved his point. And now the London Times is quoting Ashok Kumar regarding even further details about the rumored early 2010 gPhone – here is a passage from that story:

The Googlephone promises to be one of the most advanced smartphones, with a large touchscreen display and a processor almost twice as fast as the one powering Apple’s iPhone 3GS. It will probably be the first phone to run a new version of Google’s Android software, codenamed Flan, offering high-speed 3-D gaming said to be as good as that of many handheld consoles.

According to Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Northeast Securities, a financial services firm, the Google-branded phone will be built by a third-party supplier, possibly the Taiwanese phone maker HTC, and will incorporate a processor from Qualcomm.

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 a couple of cents (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, which had developed technology to connect Google Voice with voice-over-internet (Voip) networks such as Skype. Now Google has the means to offer a complete, end-to-end phone service, with which consumers can make and receive calls between the Googlephone and other phones or computers anywhere in the world, and often for nothing.

1GHz processor or better. Flan. 3D gaming. Google Voice & Gizmo5. I’ll let you make your own assumptions and analysis but I want to emphasize 2 groups that Google could alienate in this whole process. First of all, carriers:

This could prove a problem, though: few phone networks will appreciate being frozen out of lucrative business such as voice calling and text messaging, and being reduced to a simple data pipeline for Google’s services.

Second of all, manufacturers:

The mobile networks aren’t the only enemies Google risks creating. Other phone makers now using the Android operating system, such as Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, might not take kindly to Google keeping the most up-to-date version of its software for itself.

But if using the GooglePhone equates to drastically increased revenue through Google’s own advertising systems, they could almost certainly afford to subsidize the cost of the hardware and even kickback to carriers that partner with them. What do you think?

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  • HeadAcheJoe

    Sounds like a reasonable business plan to me:

    Let Moto, HTC (to a degree), Sony, Acer, et al roll out your beta testing of the Google Mobile experience, get fixes/tweaks in place for a refined consumer experience, and then, BAM, throw out your iPhone killer with a proven marketplace/Google Mobile ecosystem and try to take over the mobile world.

    Apple used the iPod/iTunes ecosystem to lay the groundwork and business model for their iPhone and app store, then combined that with their expert, consumer-friendly UI design.

    As a result, they have started dominating the mobile world w/o having to “cover their bases” by sharing the iPhone OS.

    I’ve got no problem with this… unless it means no HTC Passion for Verizon in the next month or two!

  • ari-free

    this is actually good for the other android phones. Microsoft OS didn’t take off just because they licensed the OS to others (which is the problem for winMo). It took off because it was the OS that the IBM PC used. IBM was the standard that everyone could refer to and compete with, thus establishing Microsoft dominance.

    But if there is no standard, then everyone goes off in their own direction and nobody is interested in the entire platform anymore.

  • Eric Mc

    On paper, this could change close to everything about the mobile phone industry. Just a couple things I can’t piece together:

    -If everything will run over a voip type of system, surely you will need a much faster connection than 3G for good quality. How would that work?

    -Googlevoice to my knowledge only works in the US. If Google really wants to nail this, shouldn’t they work on their European coverage? ( I’m American myself, but have lived in Germany the past 8 years, and I was pretty upset that Google Nav, which was released today, was only available in the US. I hope that and Googole Voice get expanded coverage soon)

    -battery life. Need I say more? My G1s battery runs so bad, and won’t have nearly the processor the rumored Google phone will have, yet I hear nothing from any manufacturers that they are attempting to develop longer lasting batteries for phones that are essentially now mini computers.

    Its damn exciting, and I really hope that Google holds nothing back with this release.

  • ari-free

    “offering high-speed 3-D gaming said to be as good as that of many handheld consoles.”

    yeah go after Nintendo, not just other smartphones. I hope it has good game controls. iPhone has some good games but I don’t think Apple has the heart to go all the way as a hard-core game console. They’d rather focus on the ‘experience’ and not chase after specs.

  • Shay

    Phandroid & Google

    I <3 You Guys!

  • Ulvhamne

    If google indeed DOES make such a phone, and heavily subsidizes it so it wont go die a fast death due to astronomical prices, I dont really see how it would change much outside of the US. First off, no google voice in the rest of the world, and secondly, prices here in sweden at least, are already so low that its not really bothering anyone as it is.
    And if it has the expected incredible specs, what are they gonna put in there in the way of battery? Computing power uses battery.
    I’m not sold, but it seems a lot of people are swooning over the mere idea that google will take over the cellphone world with some as of yet even uncorroborated fantasy about uber hardware…

  • Tallbruva

    Sorry fellas, not buying it. All his ranting sounds like the dream phone he would like to have. But it’s not taking into account one important thing: Greed. Google makes it’s money from advertising. Everything they do is to drive advertising. If they made a phone, HTC, Samsung, Moto, etc would loose business because the average user would go to the Google device instead. That limits the number of searches.

    Not to mention, Google isn’t the only open source phone OS. Symbian is out there too. Microsoft is trying to get back into the game. So if Google ticks off hardware manufacturers, it only hurts themselves. Not to mention Andy Rubin (head of Android development) publicly said they aren’t in the business of making phones. That could change, but there would need to be hugely profitable reason for doing so. Instead, there are huge reasons not to.

  • Jared

    So torn… I am just about ready to put down on a Droid and re-up my VZW contract, but there are these whispers of new game-changing phones in the pipeline that make me want to sit on my hands. (Not that the Droid hasn’t been game-changing enough.)

  • Igor

    Crazy theory, but maybe Google is trying to pressure Verizon to accept this hardware or the HTC one sooner rather than later. I can see VZ delaying bcos they may want Apple to give them the next iPhone and Android is just a temporary play piece for them. Google, on the other hand, wants an iPhone killer and they know they only have a small window. They can threaten VZ to accept this now and get to disable VoIP or else compete with the Google branded version. Just bcos VZ seems in the Android camp doesn’t mean it fully is…

  • ZachP

    And Kumar’s source for this info is what? His imagination? Without citing a source his speculations are as useful as those made in the forums.

  • G

    They better have all data spectrums on there phone. 800/850/900/1700/1900/2100 If data is important to them make a phone that will conect to any GSM network.

  • hEh

    dont rip entire god damn articles. its rude (and illegal)

  • tw

    Say, if you were a carrier (like, say, sprint) whose biz is shrinking but who was in the process of spinning up a 4G network and selling true unlimited data accounts, you might be willing to forego the voice revenues.

  • ksyzzle

    Ever since Verizon and Google made the announcement that they were teaming up, and Verizon’s 180 that they pulled declaring they would be an open network, I think Verizon (and Google of course) knows that the future is all data plans.
    To me it makes since that Verizon would be setting itself up for this. I think it would actually bring them more business by having more types of devices on there network. The average person would still walk into a Verizon (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or whatever) store and they would they would buy a phone and service like they always have. And tech geeks, me included, would be excited about using whatever hardware we wanted with our Google Voice (Skype or whatever) service and we are paying for service. And they know that would bring more computers and new technologies, like connected vehicles and other types of equipment. And they become a wireless ISP.
    I maybe way off about this but it make since to me.

  • Jeff

    I don’t buy the voip thing

    the only carrier in the us with the 3g coverage to handle this is verizon….the infrastructure doesn’t seem to be there to support this idea

    if people complain about att’s network with the iphone then i can’t see that not playing out the same with all these phones using voip

    if this was just an unlocked phone with multi carrier support that would be great but i am really spectacle that the voip thing could really work

  • TSellers

    I’ve been following the Google Voice and Gizmo 5 acquisition and came to a similar conclusion that this would be a smart thing for Google to do. If they simultaneously announce number porting, this is a wet dream scenario for me.

    This would shake the US Telco industry to its core (the country whose telco industry is most in need of a good shaking) which is good for consumers regardless of whether or not they use a GooglePhone. The way Google comes in and turns every industry it touches upside down is both fascinating and awe inspiring.

  • http://thetechhunter.blogspot.com gwlaw99

    Where exactly is google going to place these ads to make so much revenue? Within application? On your home screen?

    As far as gaming is concerned, unless it has a slide out keyboard with a D-pad or even a slide out game controller, the gaming experience will be horrible.

  • ari-free

    “As far as gaming is concerned, unless it has a slide out keyboard with a D-pad or even a slide out game controller, the gaming experience will be horrible.”

    it seems that they were involved with the design of the g1, which has a good keyboard/trackball. It just needs some really good specs and it would be great for gaming. The accelerometer/touchpad would only enhance the controls (for example a boxing game where you move around to dodge and then hit the buttons to throw punches)

  • http://thespinninghead.com Don

    I think these rumors about a “Google Phone” are really based upon HTC’s work on a new Google developer phone. They will need one soon to support versions of Android past 2.0.

  • Jerry

    I wonder if this will have 4g…

  • Mojo Yugen

    “Google Voice also uses sophisticated voice recognition to turn voicemails into emails”

    Funny, Google Voice tends to turn my messages into nearly unintelligible pigeon English. If that’s his opinion of Google Voice I kinda have to doubt the rest of his opinions.

    I like the idea of Gizmo5+Google Voice but I don’t see why that won’t be available for any Android phone.

    If something like this drops in the US I suspect the carriers will refuse to subsidize it nearly as much as other phones since it will cut into their potential revenue (unless Google is willing to cut them in from their end).

    It’s interesting but I’m not sure if it will delay me from buying a Droid tommorow.

  • dp

    To everyone saying “no google voice outside US”, I can see that changing after the acquisition of Gizmo5. I believe the one thing holding Google voice back outside the US (just guessing here) may be the need to purchase “rights” to international phone numbers. Gizmo5 offered their users the choice of purchasing call-in numbers including international numbers all around the world (though it was pretty expensive for many of these numbers). If these phone number reservations were part of what Google bought with Gizmo5, then I don’t see what would be stopping them from rolling out Google Voice internationally.

  • Jerry

    @MOJO …

    The rumor is that Google will be selling its phones through retail stores not the carriers. Knowing Google, they will probably sell them at a really low price.. cause they really want folks to use their services and the internet.. they re not planning on making money on the hardware

  • fish

    Everyone outside US won’t give a shit bout this phone. Sad.

  • Matthew Forrester

    It’s not the London times, it’s a national paper (do you have those) and it’s actually just “The Times”

  • http://www.inter-fuser.com taf

    WRT the 3D gaming this sounds like it could be based on a new graphics technology for android called renderscript. I’ve done some digging about in the Android source code and found a few things. I’ve written about what I’ve found on my blog here:

    http://www.inter-fuser.com/2009/11/android-and-renderscript.html

    and also:

    http://www.inter-fuser.com/2009/11/android-renderscript-more-info-and.html

  • twrock

    (Disclaimer: maybe I am completely misunderstanding what is starting to happen here, but….)
    Admittedly, smarter minds than mine over at Google must think this is a good idea and even the right time to do it. I just don’t see it. Seems Google is going to end up going to war with two groups they still need as partners: manufacturers and carriers.
    No wonder that even with a “free” OS available, manufacturers continue to pursue their own OSs. Google might think they are “doing no evil”, but this kind of stuff looks quite differently when you are on the other side and Google is you competition instead of your “buddy”.

  • johnkzin

    When the carriers move to LTE and/or WiMAX, they’ll be all voice-over-data anyway. This isn’t a new battle-front, it’s the first step into the future. It makes more sense for the carriers to work WITH Google, to ensure mutual benefit, than to pout about something they’ll have to do eventually, anyway.

    Though, personally, I hope the GooglePhone has one feature sadly missing from most of the existing Android phones: tethering without rooting. Bluetooth DUN, Bluetooth PAN, USB tethering, and Wifi tethering; all of the above.

  • TSellers

    @twrock: I think the “Don’t be evil” motto is targeted toward their consumers, not their business partners. Releasing this rumored google phone would be the most amazing and non-evil thing they could do for consumers. It would force carriers to compete with a fully featured smartphone whose plan has unlimited text/voice/data for no more than $45/month (or less, depending on carrier). Manufacturers would still be Google’s “buddy” because Google is allowing them to leverage, for free, an extremely popular OS and app market and still put a signature spin on it (HTC Sense, Moto BLUR, Sony XU, Acer Liquid, etc). The only ones in the cold are the carriers, who were never Google’s buddy to begin with and actually hamstrung the open source Android project not too long ago. As consumers in the US, we need something to shake up our telcos so they start lowering their prices and improving their networks rather than just suck us dry with some of the highest rates and unreliable/slow networks on the planet.

  • Y314K

    For all of you that don’t understand how google can make a killing giving away top of the line devices + in the future free cell data too…

    -

    http://nofilmschool.com/2009/11/the-google-phone-will-be-free/

    -

  • Tom Robson

    I don’t buy the whole VoIP thing either. It might be available as an option, but the networks even in more densely populated countries like the UK and Germany could not support VoIP with the same quality and availability as the regular voice network. Google Voice is currently US only… can they roll that out fast enough make it reliable enough to make this a viable proposition.

    As other posters have noted, releasing their own handset with a more advanced version of Android than anyone else has, will just annoy handset makers to the point of them dropping Android support. Sounds like daydreaming or exaggeration to me.

  • MensahWatts

    You know what I think? I think ROB knows more about this phone-then he is saying…

  • Y314K

    I would think this phone is a US exclusive, at least for the first few years… Finally something we can brag about mate… Took HTC Hero months to get here…. And then it had been circumcised… Seems the Euro’s don’t like it when the phone is on the other ear…
    -
    And for those that don’t understand VoIP… It’s a proven tech that doesn’t need as much data as you think… I went from having Vonage to MagicJack… MJ is great… I extended my service for 5 years after my first year with it for only 60 bucks… They have great international fees, even better then GoogleVoice & it’s portable…
    -
    The US & Euro cell markets are way different… And Google is going after the bigger clusterphuck first… Euro’s can just wait… Just as we’ve had to wait on tons of devices and tech.
    -
    Now… Has anybody heard anything new about this Google project…
    -
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10158326-94.html
    -
    Can this be Google’s Ace up it’s sleeve… I mean… Is this what is pushing Google back from releasing the gPhone in ’09… And why wouldn’t the carriers allow for data only plans when they know if they don’t jump on board they will be left behind faster then Kirk Cameron.
    -
    Keep an eye out for WhiteSpace Technology… I think this might be the canary in the gPhone goldmine. (No wonder Google said no to any more WiMax funding)
    -
    So do the math folks…
    -
    Google GPhone made by HTC(Killer Specs) + GoogleVoice/GoogleGizmo5 + GoogleADMob + GoogleWhiteSpaceTech… And they just keep adding more stuff…
    -
    “Game Changer” more like NKED!!!

  • a

    1Ghz Snapdragon sounds great but don´t get too exited. OMAP3430 is known to support HD video playback – Samsung Omnia HD – while no Snapdragon powered phones support that soo far.

  • Tallbruva

    @gwlaw99
    I’ve been to your site from your link here. You of all people should know how Google makes money from advertising using AdWords and AdSense. The more mobile devices you have in people’s hands, the more likely they are to search or at the very least go to a page that has an AdSense link. And since the default search widget will take you to Google, any and all ad revenue starts – and in most cases right now – ends with them.

    Either way, Google makes money. Unless you can think of another reason why they’d give away a free OS (with the expense of keeping it updated – Microsoft sure isn’t giving theirs away for free), free space to hold your pics(Picassa), free office document apps, free electronic books in the public domain, etc, etc.

    What do all these have in common? You go to their site for everything. You may not make them money on the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd trip. But if everything you’re doing goes thru them, yeah, they can make money off you without placing adds on your desktop.

    BTW – they can place ads in the application if the developer chooses to use Google for ads. Install The Weather Channel app and you’ll see that.

  • http://yopauly.com YoPauly

    Amazing how much time we put into “buzz” that is nothing more than that. Remember the new Palm Treo with the big screen and slide-out keyboard that never happened? Remember the iPhone with a physical keyboard that never happened? Remember all the “iphone” killers that faded into the sunset?

    Finger on the pulse? I think not.