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3/21/2007
01:26 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Google Denies Google Phone And Stresses Mobile Software

So is Google actually building a mobile phone or not? This burning question is keeping mobile bloggers everywhere busy. And just when it looked like Google had confirmed the long-awaited Google Phone, another company executive thi

So is Google actually building a mobile phone or not? This burning question is keeping mobile bloggers everywhere busy. And just when it looked like Google had confirmed the long-awaited Google Phone, another company executive this week came out and denied the rumors.According to a report from The Australian Financial Review, Richard Kimber, Google's South-East Asia managing director of sales and operations, this week denied the Google Phone rumors that have been ablaze for the last few days. He said that building mobile phone hardware would represent a major change in the company's business model, adding that Google is currently focused on making usable mobile versions of its online products.

I guess that means there is no Google Phone. Or does it?

According to a report in today's Guardian, Google has supposedly hired the team that created the Sidekick mobile device to help build a Google Phone. No substantiation yet beyond this article.

Is there a Google Phone or not?

Regardless, techies keep begging for a Google Phone. Tech pundit Sascha Segan argues that Google should try to make a cell phone, even if it isn't in the process of doing so right now.

Segan warns Google that working with existing cell phone makers -- the strategy that the Google executive this week emphasized during his comments -- isn't the best way to bring innovation to this market. Remember the iTunes phone from Motorola?

Partnering with an existing cell phone manufacturer at first looks like a more sensible solution than diving into an entirely new business realm without any of the existing relationships that make cell-phone manufacturers successful. But both Google and Apple tried that, and the result was less than thrilling.

Apple's collaboration with Motorola produced the awful ROKR and RAZR V3i, slow, unpleasant to use devices. Google also announced collaboration with Motorola in 2006; it says something that I haven't yet seen a phone showing any evidence of that alliance.

Someone in the cell phone industry needs to truly think different, break all the rules, and reinvent the handheld computer (because that's what it is) from the ground up. Apple got frustrated enough to try - and I'm eagerly looking forward to see what they add to the conversation. Apple promises a new era of media playback, but their one-carrier-only, no-third-party-software policy doesn't bring an open Internet mentality to phones.

What do you think? Is Google just being coy and denying the Google Phone? Or is the Google Phone just the latest piece of vaporware? And do you think Segan is right? Will Google's current strategy to port its software to handsets work or will it flop like iTunes on other handsets?

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