Crazy Competition Rumor: Secret Google Phone Running Secret Android is Real

Gizmodo isn't waiting for the new year to shoot old rumors into the stratosphere, gossiping that the Google Phone (an honest-to-Jobs unique, branded phone by Google) is in a fact a fact, runs the here-to-fore unseen "real" Android (yes, everything from the G1 to the Droid has been running fakety fake fake Android), and is about to flood Google's HQ for testing:

Our best guess is an Android OS with Google Voice at its heart.

And maybe a side order of VoIP? (They say it's not Chrome OS either, but it's hard not to imagine Google ultimately going in that direction).

If to, would this make Android less competitive with the iPhone by utterly shattering the faith and market of Google's partners, or would it let Google ship the kind of killer integrated experience Apple, Palm, and RIM have been serving up? Oh, and, you want?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Yup, I want.
    Let's see google's vision for a phone. If the gPhone really is more googlely and awesome, screw the partners.
  • I bet that sucker is going to not only have GMail but GOOGLE WAVE! - Awesome! :)
  • @Dexter - but you can already get Wave on the iPhone, Android and Windows Phones...
  • No doubt all of the menus and buttons will be underlined blue text on a white background. :roll:
  • Furthermore, the background will be adjusted daily to reflect the season. The folks in Cupertino must be shaking in their boots. Oh, and don't forget the links to Sponsored Apps.
  • Maybe a real stupid question, but I don't know anything about Google Voice...
    What does this mean for phone carriers like ATT & VZW? Would gphone be on one of those or its' own network?
  • iPhone OS needs to be revamped. Getting bored with just a buncha icons on a screen. Random thought, sorry.
  • This is very interesting...What about their current partners? Will they get left in the dark as far as features are concerned? Are any of the current models and upcoming models going to be relevant? Htc's sense UI is the best on android have we seen the last of that? So many questions, just have to wait for the answers.
  • @GTR:
    @Dexter – but you can already get Wave on the iPhone, Android and Windows Phones…
    Ah, no. Wave is NOT supported on the iphone.
    I have a wave account, and I can tell you even if it did work on the phone it would be a nightmare to use on the iPhone.
  • @jtz5:
    what does this mean for current carriers...
    Its hard to say since it hasn't been released.
    Some speculation is that it will simply be a voip phone that will tie into your router, others suggest it will be a DATA-ONLY phone which would be like buying an air-card for your computer, and all calls would go to your google number across your dataplan. Yet still others say its like an any other Android without the limitations insisted upon by the carriers or manufacturers.
    It will be interesting to see. And Google right now is the only company that has the global reach to pull this off on a grand scale. It might be why they tucked tail and went away so quietly when Apple banned them from the iPhone. If so, revenge is sweet, and Apple will rue the day they made that decision.
  • @Icebike: If you ignore the warning and "continue at your own peril", works fine, even shows a mobile WebKit-optimized version (one pane instead of the tri-fold on the desktop).
    I'm sure there are bugs and glitches, but nothing game-stopping yet.
  • @fathome641:
    This is very interesting…What about their current partners? Will they get left in the dark as far as features are concerned?
    If they feel left in the dark, its their own damned fault.
    Android is an open system. They had access to EVERY part of it and chose to cherry pick certain features, and limit others. They did this knowing they were dealing with an open system and (I speculate) colluded with carriers and other manufacturers to hold some features back and charge ridiculous prices for others in an attempt to preserve carrier profits.
    I'm betting this phone is a data-only model (no calling plan) that bypasses the whole carrier minute rat race all together.
    But I am guessing... Of course.
  • If it's not Google that does it, it'll be someone else soon. Wireless carriers need to embrace the fact that in short order VOIP will become the predominent way to make phone calls. The future of telecom is selling data bandwidth, not voice services - I look forward to seeing which phone companies are willing to embrace this transition first (and I have no doubt I will find myself a subscriber to their services).
  • @IceBike
    The problem Htc Moto etc are facing is what happens when google starting to favor it's own hardware, denying key feature access from partner's phones.
    Android is partly open source: the OS is free for anyone to grab but a lot of applications are not, for example the map is a google property.
    The partners should be worried in case Google leave them hanging high and dry. Not to mention none of them can compete with google's brand.
    But all I wanna for Xmas is a phone can really compete with the iPhone, so I could not care less about HTC's feeling.
  • @ArseneKarl:
    Open Source OS.
    Nuf said.
    As for the applications, anyone can develop their own. But they won't need to, because Google is not going to cut them off, they make money with each application.
    The manufacturers using Android knew that Google HAD TO HAVE an ulterior motive. It wasn't developing a OS just for them, free of charge, on a silver platter.
    Still, as you mention, and as mentioned above by others, Google would be silly to go directly after their customer's business.
    Thats why I'm betting the Google phone doesn't even directly compete with the Droid or HTC or any carrier based smartphone. I'm still thinking it will use a data-card, and no voice plan.
    Google will make the carriers dumb pipes, and make them like it.
  • @icebike:
    I’m still thinking it will use a data-card, and no voice plan.
    I completely agree. Now let's just hope they're creative enough to properly market the thing.
  • @IceBike
    I don't believe Google have any incentive to jeopardize the Android platform of its own.
    That been said, Android hardware manufacturers should notice they have successfully put google in their own companies' driver's seat. Open source or not, without Google's marketing pull and net applications, Android is just another linux distro for ARM, it is not even a particularly excellent one.
    Then, with Google's own phone in the picture, one have to wander if the partnership will still be needed. As you said, Google want the Telcos to be just dumb pipes, one step further, the phone manufacturers can also be just dumb pipes popping out whatever hardware Google dictates.
    HTC Moto have little to bargain with google as it is, I imagine they'd really hate a future of mindless slaves of the lord Google.
  • If it will be data-only VoIP enabled device, I'd see it as an interesting concept. I wouldn't see it as a replacement to a phone though, unless networks provide excellent 3g blanket coverage. Too often my iPhone loses 3g reception, mainly in rural areas but also in certain black spots in the suburbs, I think most networks have a lot of work to do before they could comfortably offer a data only device. This perspective may be irrelevant in other nations.
  • @OP
    iPhone OS should be updated
  • I think it's been proven over and again that judgements can't really be made until the phone is available. How many phones have looked like they were going to be awesome on paper, and then turned out sub par.
  • @Kaiks:
    I wouldn’t see it as a replacement to a phone though, unless networks provide excellent 3g blanket coverage. Too often my iPhone loses 3g reception,
    Edge is plenty adequate for two way voice. You don't need 3G for that.
  • Heaven help them if it's VOIP only lol. EVDO(CDMA) was planning to go VOIP at one stage, called EvDV from memory - they dumped the idea as it was simply unreliable.
  • I doubt Google is denying features to the carriers, more likely it is the carriers removing features.
    The same dinosaur mentality that killed GM by scuttling their EV1 technological advantage is at work in the carriers.
  • @Icebike
    Edge is represented by an 'E' isn't it? I've never seen that on my iPhone, I only had 3g or the little circle which means I'll have to wait a matter of minutes for a web page to load. I'm in Australia so my experience likely varies a lot and this device probably wouldn't likely come down here as we are a small market.
  • There's also some speculation that the Google Phone will use Google Voice over 4G connections, or over white space. I think most rumors are converging on the idea that whatever this rumor is in reference to is not going to be just another phone for an existing cellular carrier, but that it will represent a novel form of service. If that were true, it wouldn't be a competitor for Android, in the sense that no matter what Google does along those lines. cellular phone manufacturers and carriers would still need an OS. In a way, that would be the only way Google could release a phone device and not compete with current Android phones.
  • Agree that the only way this makes sense is data-only VOIP. Google and Apple must be looking forward to near-universal wifi coverage. It wouldn't take much for Apple
    to turn the iPod Touch into a competitor for such a device. As for 'current partners' there doesn't seem to be a whole lotta honor among thieves even now . . .
  • And yeah, I would love to get my hands on such a thing - but it would rake a True Second Coming at this point to make me surrender the iPhone.
  • I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. One more thing,introduce my live cameras website:inurl /view/index.shtml to you, it's interesting.