Google has been showing off prototypes of its Google Phone to mobile network operators, as its plans to introduce a Google-branded handset accelerate.
Google is aiming to secure a large slice of the growing mobile advertising market by introducing handsets optimised for Google search and other applications, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal . The report claims hundred of millions of dollars have been spent on Google's mobile phone project.
A Google Phone - or gPhone, as it's become known - has been rumoured for a while. Google has developed a series of prototype devices and is currently drafting specifications for devices that can best display Google's applications, the WSJ report claims. Google is also designing new software for the gPhone, including a sophisticated new mobile browser.
However, the Google Phone is still in the planning stage and is unlikely to appear until 2008 at the earliest. Google is believed to be looking for multiple handset manufacturers to work with on a Google defined specification, possibly even creating their own handset designs based around the Google reference.
Google is also keen to work with multiple mobile operators to secure wide distribution of Google-optimised handsets. LG is one handset manufacturer that Google has been working with to integrate Google software into handsets and could be a potential hardware partner.
Google Phone spec
The specifications proposed by Google include 3G and Wi-Fi capability, for high-speed web-browsing, download and other capabilities. And integrated GPS could also appear - perhaps adding a new location-specific search dimension to the new Google mobile browser's capability.
In addition, regular mobile phone multimedia functionality - such as cameras and video - are part of the Google reference specification.
Google has already been working with a number of mobile phone operators and handset manufacturers to introduce Google search and other applications into mobile devices and onto network portals. Google could expand this further by allowing mobile makers to carry Google software without a licensing fee.
Google is keen to get as many people as possible using its mobile services in order to translate its fixed internet dominance to the mobile market. And to secure a significant share of the anticapted multi-billion dollar mobile advertising bonanza.