Written by: Alan Lindsay
There has been a huge amount of speculation over the past two weeks about the 'Google Phone' and the idea that Google might release a phone of its own rather than push the usage of its mobile Android OS on other phones. While it isn't really totally confirmed that Google will do so, it now seems very likely that they will release a Google branded phone. Google handed out test units to employees last week and the very next day I actually saw them in use in the wild while attending a show. The couple to my right spent more time fiddling with and adjusting and updating their Google phones than they did watching the show! My impressions were that the screen was large and really high quality and that it seemed rather less intuitive than an iPhone.
The new phone is running a new version of Android. The rumors are that it will be available locked through a regular phone carrier (probably Verizon would be my guess) at a pricepoint comparable to the iPhone and unlocked direct from Google at a significantly higher pricepoint.
One of the reasons that this is creating a stir is obviously that this is Google coming out with a consumer hardware product. But that isn't the only reason. There is sense that the iPhone is vulnerable because it is slowly getting a reputation as a great device but a pretty bad phone. In my experience that is an accurate assessment. So bleeding-edge techies see an opportunity for Google to step in and start scooping up market share.
Not so fast. Here are the reasons why the Google Phone will fail.
It's time to acknowledge that Apple has already won this round. But there is still plenty of room for overtaking Apple in other ways if Google recognizes that the killer device isn't a phone. It is a multipurpose device that somehow brings together the tablet/portable internet browser, the ebook reader, the iPod, and voice as an application as well as video camera, GPS and more. Perhaps it is a little larger than a phone and phone functions are handled via a bluetooth headset. This next generation device isn't a phone - voice applications are just one set of applications on the device. Much in the same way that VoIP is moving beyond just being a phone, now the phone is moving on to be an application that has more functions.
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