Rizzn-ites!

(further discussion on this can be found on Episode 121 of RizWords. Subscribe in iTunes for the first scoops!)

Don’t ever doubt me again! When a leak or a confirmation comes from me, you know it’s true! :-p

What am I talking about? Obviously you haven’t checked Engadget or your copy of the Boston Globe yet. The gPhone was demo’ed in Boston, according to Scott Kirsner, to: Dan Roth of Nuance, Mike Phillips of Vlingo, Paul Ferri of Matrix Partners, and Murali Aravamudan of Veveo. It’s an interesting assortment of names, and include a lot of names and companies we talk about here on the show.

Off that tidbit, what can be assumed? Well, given that Google specializes in search, and has a considerable amount of resources devoted to video and voice recognition (GOOG-411 and Video Search), we can assume they’ll be either trying to incorporate their’s or other’s technology into the device.

Additionally, Om Malik came out today with a number of other confirmations on things we already knew here at Rizzn:

  1. Google Phone is based on a mobile variant of Linux, and is able to run Java virtual machines. We knew this to be true from Deep Throat… Linux-based kernel.
  2. All applications that are supposed to run on the Google Phone are java apps. The OS has ability to run multimedia files, including video clips. We didn’t know that it would have video on it, although it would be rather silly for Google not to include one of it’s leading draws, currently, YouTube in the mix somehow. The Java angle makes me a bit nervous – I’ve never had super luck with Java Applets, although in recent years, the platform has stabilized a bit. Additionally, Java Applets running on a tightly integrated system like a mobile platform could be mean better performance for said applets than we see on the PC architecture.
  3. The image (with red background) floating around isn’t representative of the Google Phone UI. The entire UI is said to be done in Java and is very responsive. Again, because of integrated design, the Java could perform much better than other real-world applications. And indeed, the image we ran with the story last week was something we simply found on Engadget, not something handed to us from Google.
  4. The UI, of course has a “search box.” Derrrrr.
  5. Initially there was one prototype, but over past few months Google has the mobile OS running on 3-to-5 devices, most of them likely made by HTC, a mobile phone maker, and all have Qwerty apps. The model that folks have seen is very similar to the T-Mobile Dash. Around 3GSM, there were rumors that Google, Orange and HTC were working together on mobile devices. This jives with what we’ve heard from folks inside the loop as well as what we’ve read on the blogosphere. My suspicion, based on candid conversations with folks involved with the process, is that it’ll initially be on a partnership basis like the iPhone situation with AT&T, but look for it in other countries before America gets it. American carriers will be less likely to do a subsidization on the service plans than overseas. If I had to guess, I’d expect to see it in Asia and Europe as some sort of internet wireless plan separate from carriers (think 802.something), parts of middle-to-Southern Asia and middle-to-Eastern Europe as a partnership with existing carriers, or maybe a mix of both. Keep in mind this is based off my analysis, not hard facts.

Om also mentioned:

We will post more details as they come our way. I had initially thought that it could be a more viable option to the $100 PC. While that argument still remains true, I think this is a strategic move by Google to keep Windows Mobile’s growing influence in check. Microsoft has spent billions on its mobile efforts including buying companies such as Tell Me Networks.

To be honest, I think this platform is an answer to both situations. The impression I get is that Google is working very closely with select partners like HTC to tailor the hardware to the OS and software, and vice-versa. The result will be something that comes in at a much lower price point with a lot more functionality than a Microsoft or OLPC style device can deliver.

Theoretically, on certain levels, it’ll compete with both products, but as with most Google products, it’ll do more to carve out it’s own operating niche than to enter direct competition. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Google doesn’t think, in it’s tactical level, on competitive terms, but more emphasis on innovation (a term I’ve often heard bandied about is ‘Blue-Sky R&D). As a result, they end up being mightily competitive, without having to worry about it so much.

Back to the Boston Article a moment…
Scott in his Boston Globe article said:

Google spokeswoman Erin Fors wouldn’t confirm whether software for mobile phones was being developed in the Cambridge office, where there are more than 50 employees.

Going back to my conversation with Deep Throat, I’m fairly certain that development for the phone is taking place, at least in part, at the Mountain View Googleplex. Saying what gave me this impression would reveal too much about my source, but it’s the impression I got.

Another interesting quote from the Boston Globe article was from Mark May, an analyst:

Mark May, an equities analyst at Needham & Company who follows Google’s stock, says he doesn’t expect Google to manufacture the phone itself, but rather provide an operating system and a suite of applications that “would appeal to consumers and professionals,” like the mail and word processing applications it already provides to PC users.

“That’s a natural extension from their core business,” May says. The operating system is expected to be open not just to Google’s applications, but applications developed by all sorts of other players – a real problem with many cellphones.

So, what was an absurd rumor from a blogger five days ago is now a ‘natural extension’? Nice spin, MSM.

GPay? What?
As if there weren’t enough angles today to the gPhone story, Google published a patent today covered by TechCrunch detailing yet another application for the gPhone or other mobile devices allowing for payment via text messaging.

When I worked for Nokia in 2000, this was one of the applications we were working on before the bust hit, and 500 people from my department were laid off. PayPal initially got funded on the idea that it could be a mobile payment system, as well. No one really has gotten traction in the market of Text Message Payment Systems, and quite honestly, Google doesn’t deserve the patent, which isn’t to say that this couldn’t become a widely successful application for them. Integrating your walle

t with your mobile computing device? Actually quite ingenius.

Of course, it’ll be a matter of moments before the debate on Goog’s strangle-hold on information and privacy issues are raised again (not to mention the evil-ness, or lack thereof).

How’s that for something to chew on this Labor Day? I’m going to my mom’s to go eat some bratwurst. See you folks tomorrow. (again, check out the show for more info).

/rizzn

Want to be part of the Rizzn-ite army? Indoctrination instructions here.