[linux-elitists] google phones

Ruben Safir ruben@mrbrklyn.com
Sun Nov 4 21:41:10 PST 2007


By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY                                                                    Breaking news E-mail alerts
NEW YORK  Google (GOOG) today plans to announce the formation of an "open phone"               Get breaking news in your inbox as
coalition, with the goal of developing an operating system for the so-called Google            it happens
Phone.

The new operating system, geared specifically for cellphones, will be used to showcase
and promote Google's ever-growing panoply of services, much like Microsoft has done for
decades with its Windows operating system.

Google's coalition partners, as of Sunday, included Sprint (S), Motorola (MOT), Samsung
and Japanese wireless giant NTT DoCoMo, according to people familiar with Google's plans.
They declined to be identified because they weren't authorized by Google to speak
publicly.

Google did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

The new G-system will be based on Linux, a 15-year-old computer operating system that is
available free over the Internet. Google's version will be overlaid with Java, a popular
computer language.

The finished product, expected within months, will unabashedly favor Google applications
and services.

"What's being developed is unlikely to be easily transportable to Yahoo (YHOO) and other
(service) providers," says Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation, a
non-profit group that supports the adoption of "Linux-based" operating systems in the
mobile industry.

Gillis says Google hopes to have a branded device ready for worldwide shipment by the
spring. LiMo isn't a member of the coalition, but a number of its members are
participating.

Consumers are potentially the biggest beneficiaries. Currently, many cellphone carriers
limit the services and applications that their customers can use. Mobile Web browsing is
also notoriously slow. This mobile prison is so well known it has a name: "the walled
garden."

The Google Phone, powered by the new G-system, could blow open this model by providing
easy access to the Internet at PC-type speeds. One caveat: You'll have to use Google for
navigation. Still, Gillis says the Google Phone could push cellphone carriers to improve
their game considerably. "This is likely to accelerate the demise of the walled garden,
and consumers everywhere will be the big winners."

Gillis says Google plans to basically give away the software developer "tools," used by
programmers to write new applications. "If you're a developer, you'll be able to develop
(applications) for the new Google Phone very quickly."

Google's motivation is survival. The tech giant now rules the world of desktop-based
Internet searches, but it doesn't have a clear advantage in the wireless universe. As
consumers continue to flock to wireless devices, performing Internet searches on the run,
Google wants to follow them.

Noticeably absent from the Google coalition: AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ). Both
carriers are talking to Google about the possibility of allowing its applications to be
included on devices, but they remain cool to the notion of supporting any device that
favors Google over other providers.

AT&T and Verizon are also concerned about Google's plans to use wireless devices as
mobile billboards for a crush of advertisements.

Sprint, the No. 3 carrier, is supporting the coalition, but it hasn't formally agreed to
make the Google Phone available to its 54 million subscribers.

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"> I'm an engineer. I choose the best tool for the job, politics be damned.<
You must be a stupid engineer then, because politcs and technology have been attached at the hip since the 1st dynasty in Ancient Egypt.  I guess you missed that one."

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