Light Reading

Google Spy: Big Team Picking Up Phone

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

A Silicon Valley insider claims that 100 people are working on a new mobile device at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).

Speculation about Google launching a device has been rife particularly since Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) unveiled the iPhone this January. Now, Polaris Venture Partners general partner Simeon Simeonov, claiming to have insider knowledge, has added a number of details about the Google plans. (See Google in Phone Search?)

In his blog, Simeonov says that ex-Danger Inc. founder Andy Rubin, which Google acquired when it bought Android in August 2005, has a team of around 100 people working on a device. The company further added to its mobile capabilities in 2005 by buying mobile applications firm ReqWireless and device graphics engine developer Skia.

In an interview with Unstrung, Simeonov says his inside source tells him that the company is working on a BlackBerry-like device that would run Java -- and possibly Linux -- and support services such as voice-over-IP.

Simeonov is not the only person in the industry that has caught a whiff of Google phone development rumors. "I've heard the same thing," says Ovum Ltd. analyst Roger Entner. "I think they're working on a phone."

Google itself wouldn't comment on what a spokesperson described as "rumor and speculation." Nonetheless, the motivation for Google is fairly obvious. The company makes the bulk of its money through ads, and wireless and mobile represent a growing channel to drive such revenues.

"A phone is one way of driving it and keeping it," says Entner.

Simeonov says that Google believes it will attract carriers to the project because it would be able to reduce the cost of acquiring cellular subscribers by handling the online marketing of the phone.

Some analysts, however, suggest that getting into the device business would be difficult -- even for a company like Google.

"While Google can do anything, entering the hardware business especially with wireless must be taken seriously," comments Gartner Inc. analyst Ken Dulaney. "It is very, very difficult to do."

The firm, however, does have some powerful wireless partnerships already established. Google has already been working with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Samsung Corp. on mobile-related software. (See The Gorilla That Ate the Carriers.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:12:54 PM
re: Google Spy: Big Team Picking Up Phone
When one looks at the Backbone network Google is building, that includes major Data Center (Central Office Like Facilities) connected by multiple Fiber lniks Nationwide and maybe worldwide, combined with its ability to offer Last Mile Network providers (ILEC/CLEC and MSO)a unique source of Content/Applications and enhanced Tier#1 access to the Internet, you can quickly see that they can quickly deploy a National VoiceIP network.
The unique network design, massive processing capabilities and fiber links will provide the Latency and QoS capabilities that a real TDM based Voice network has over existing VOiceIP services like Vonage.
Service Providers, even those with existing TDM voice service, will need to address the demand for VoiceIP along with their Broadband Data and Video services and thus be receptive to partnering with Google for ACCESS.

Google will be a single source for worldwide communications, desk top business tools, and Video content and use their ads to help pay for and develop the market.
Google needs to maximize their access to the end user (more ad revenues)and the Service Providers who own the Last Mile Access will supply them with these broadband links.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:12:53 PM
re: Google Spy: Big Team Picking Up Phone
See, that's one thing I wonder about. How receptive do thing carrier's would be to becoming Google's "dumb pipe"? I'm not convinced on that aspect.

-- DJ
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