The Google Phone: Fact, Fiction and a Huge Link List

Updated: May 03, 2007


Most of the news regarding a possible Google Phone is unconfirmed or based on rumors. However, there are some things we know for sure. Whether or not they point to the existence of a phone remains to be seen. Here are some points of interest to consider.

  • A mobile device has been in research and development: Google executive Isabel Aguilera confirms that Google has a mobile device currently under research and development. However, Aguilera does not report that anything will actually be produced from the R&D on this project.
  • Google has made some interesting purchases: In July 2005, Google acquired Android, a startup that makes software for mobile phones. Google's purchase of Android netted a wealth of talent, most notably Android co-founder Andy Rubin, previously of Danger, a software company specializing in mobile devices like the T-Mobile Sidekick.

    Also in 2005, Google purchased Skia, a small company that focused on development of 2D graphics for mobile devices. Skia previously made a product called SGL, which is a "portable graphics engine" specializing in 2D graphics for mobile devices and other electronics.

  • Google also acquired ReqWireless, an organization specializing in browser and email software for mobile devices. Insiders believe Google has taken the manpower from their acquisitions of Android, Skia and ReqWireless and moved them into a Google phone team.
  • Google plans to get into the telecommunications business: Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google's enterprise division, said that Google Talk will soon branch out into VoIP and traditional phone systems. Currently, Google Talk provides instant communication functionality and allows users to make free PC-to-PC calls.
  • Google applications are showing up on phones everywhere: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung and Google announced that select Samsung phones will be bundled with applications like Google search, Google Maps and Gmail. This "cooperation" aims to evolve the market from a "fixed-Internet era to a mobile Internet era."

Motorola has signed on, too. They made plans to offer devices with a Google icon that would allow users to "connect directly to Google" for "personalized search services." Handsets were intended to be available in early 2006, but no distribution has happened so far.

Just a few months after Samsung's announcement, LG jumped on the bandwagon as well. A press release reports, "LG and Google will jointly market LG-Google handsets, then further extend their collaboration to develop [a] digitized home in the future."

  • Google has submitted suspicious patents: In 2005, Google submitted a patent for an application that predicts what users will search for based on their history, geographic area and the time of the search. This functionality would presumably allow users to locate restaurants, shops, taxis and more on the go, with results tailored to their location, time and search history.

    In 2006, Google was awarded a patent for technology designed to make data on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) systems move faster. In other words, they have technology to speed up data on phones and other mobile devices.

Another patent involves serving advertising on mobile devices. The filing describes a technology that would put ads on mobile phones. These ads, when activated, could make a phone call instead of directing the user to a new page.

In April 2006, Google was granted a patent for voice-enabled search. That means users would be able to say out loud what they are looking for instead of typing it in. This functionality was tested for the PC in Google Labs, but the potential for the application points towards mobile use.

  • Google is shopping for mobile experts: Google is searching for program managers and other new employees to work on "a new hardware product introduction." Another job listing requests a strategic partner development manager, asking specifically for someone with "extensive partner/business development experience working with large U.S. wireless carriers and handset OEMs."

  • Chief Executive Eric Schmidt knows that mobile is the future: When Eric Schmidt, Google Chief Executive, was asked about intriguing technologies, he answered, "mobile, mobile, mobile." He noted that the mobile industry has the biggest growth areas.


There aren't a lot of reports that negate rumors about specifics of the phone. There are, however, a few naysayers out there. Here's what they have to say.

  • More Google executives speak out about phone rumors: Less than a week after Google executive Isabel Aguilera confirmed that a mobile device was in research and development, other executives quelled the rumors. Richard Kimber stated: "At this point in time, we are very focused on the software, not the phone." Of course, his language suggests "the phone" exists.

    Vinton Cerf noted that it would be out of character for Google to take on a mobile device, asserting, "Becoming an equipment manufacturer is pretty far from our business model." However, critics might argue that becoming an advertising giant is out of line for a software company as well.

    Senior Vice President of R&D at Google, Alan Eustace, shot down rumors of a phone, saying specifically, "We're not doing a mobile phone." Rather, Eustace expressed a hope to do something "broader…than yet another mobile device," and noted that Google is thinking about ways to reach users and deploy applications in the mobile sector.

  • Analysts think Google is building software, not a cell phone: Gene Munster, a Piper Jaffray analyst, speculated that Google is building software designed to work with the iPhone and other mobile devices. This software would include web search and location-finding services. This theory matches up with Google's partnerships with Samsung, Motorola and LG as well as some of the patents that Google has submitted.


There is information out there that's intriguing, but can't be confirmed. In spite of reports that a Google phone is not real, these speculations abound. What's real or not, only Google knows for sure.

  • Google has conducted a survey about a Samsung-designed phone: A poster at MobileBurn claims he participated in a survey for a Google phone designed by Samsung. He "forgot" to take a screen shot of the specs, but recalled that it had 3G, Wi-Fi and a 2 megapixel camera. He did, however, remember to take a screenshot which reveals a number of details about the phone. These include: standard Google applications like Gmail, Maps and Blogger, a sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a screen that switches from portrait to landscape. Mobile Internet services would be available for a monthly flat fee with a 3 month discount subsidized by advertising.

  • Google and Orange are talking: The Observer reports that Orange, a European telecom group, flew out to Google's headquarters for preliminary discussions on a "multi-billion-dollar partnership to create a 'Google phone.'"

  • High Tech Computer is currently manufacturing a Google phone: DigiTimes reports that High Tech Computer (HTC) has started manufacturing the Google Phone, with a shipment of up to one million units due out at the end of 2007. The phones will be released in 2008, starting out on the European carrier Orange.

  • It's not GPhone, it's "Switch": Engadget was tipped off to the "Switch," a phone that is reported to be a Google collaboration with Samsung. The phone would have a touchscreen, GPS for Google Maps and Gtalk, which combines Gmail, text and instant messaging.
  • The Google phone will run without any onboard storage: Engadget informs readers that an anonymous tipster reported the phone won't have any onboard storage, which means all applications will function over a network. In this configuration, new applications can be attached to your account using a web interface.
  • Venture capitalist Simeon Simeonov cites an inside source, who reports the Switch will be "Blackberry-like," with a "C++ core," "optimized Java, [and] vector-based presentation," as well as VoIP and other services.

  • Google came out of the closet at CeBit: Richard Windsor, a phone analyst from London, reported that Google "came out of the closet at the CeBit trade fair" and that they plan to create a "mass market device aimed at bringing Google to users who don't have a PC." This would give Google a chance to create a market share in an area that Microsoft hasn't yet dominated.


It sounds like Google is up to something big, even if it isn't a mobile device. Perhaps they'll come up with a new solution that no one's even thought of, or maybe they'll just continue to move their applications into the mobile sector. No matter what the outcome is, it's certainly fun to keep an eye on the latest news and speculation about what Google has on tap. Here are some links to check out:

Interest and general speculation



Google's job search


Google's acquisitions

Manufacturing the Google phone


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