Google getting into the phone business?


According to the UK’s The Observer, Google is in discussions with French company Orange about the possibility of producing a co-branded mobile phone. The device would be manufactured by HTC, leading to speculation that it would run Windows Mobile (how ironic!). The ‘Google Phone’ would come preloaded with Google software that would offer location-based searches (for example, “Find a Thai restaurant in my area”, Google Earth and Gmail.

Google already offers many of its services (for example, Google Maps, Gmail) on mobile phones so it will be interesting to see what benefits a partnership with Orange would bring. These could include expansion into the mobile market and a share of airtime revenues (in exchange for a share of ad click-through revenues).

If this partnership goes ahead, The Observer reports that the Google phone would go on sale in 2008.

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