digg_url = ‘http://www.rizzn.com/2007/10/gphone-final-countdown-starts-here.asp’;
Update (11:52 AM CST 10/3/2007): You might be interested in this video demo of the HTC Dual Touch, which is rumored to be the hardware platform for the gPhone. I’d also like to re-iterate that the release dates are less trusted than the details in the main post. I mentioned that the dates I’ve heard have ranged from late Sept to early Oct. I haven’t had any two sources say the same date twice, as I mentioned on the show, as well, so I don’t trust those dates as much as I trust the rest of the details I’ve disclosed. Everyone seems keen to discount me using the dates I mentioned as ‘proof’, so I thought I’d re-iterate the authenticity of specific facts (or lack thereof). In other words, read the entire article in context.
Update (8:38 PM CST 10/1/2007): Several people have written in to me with the caveat that after the $400 gPhone is purchased the carrier connection might be subsidized by ads, thus technically free service. No one has said anything that would indicate this explicitly, but then no one has said anything to directly contradict it either. I wouldn’t count on this fact personally, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Trust me, though. I’d love it if it was free.
Update (5:00 PM CST 10/1/2007): Finally heard back from T-Mobile. A spokesperson who preferred not to be named stated: “…regarding the gPhone, T-Mobile does not comment on rumors or speculation.” Almost verbatim what Google currently says publicly when asked. In response to my queries about data network specifications, the spokesperson said: “…I have looked into your request and found T-Mobile’s 3G/UMTS network updates are currently in the works. We are targeting the rollout for the first half of 2008. At this time we are not providing details regarding the availability of our network or future advanced data services. “
We’re going to talk a lot about this on the show today (Episode 141). Listen in and get the full story!
I’m unloading my payload today. I’ve been aggregating and sifting through rumors from a number of sources – Deep Throat, NDA’ed entrepreneurs, NDA’ed employees of various related vendors and trusted internet sources. Some of the juicy tidbits that I trust implicitly I’ve been sitting on for the last month so I could drum up verification by independent sources. All of my sources prefer to remain anonymous, so I suppose this technically remains in the rumor bin, but my first predictions proved to be true regarding the gPhone, so as an independent reader, take that as you will. Thus ends my disclaimer.
On to the juicy tidbits. T-Mobile is going to be the network operator for the gPhone worldwide. I’ve got a call in to the press department over at T-Mobile in which I expect them to respond with the “we don’t comment on rumor” line, but several other sources have corroborated this aspect.
It is going to be a Linux based kernel for the operating system. As of last talks with folks at Google, the GUI is still being finalized. The testing hardware was described as being in pieces spread across a table a couple weeks ago, as they finalized the drivers and the GUI for the device. The phone reference design will be open source, using the Apache license. This reference design will be an unlocked, neutral environment.
HTC is making the hardware – this isn’t a new revelation. The rumor that they were involved has been a very widely reported rumor, but not only are trusted sources now reporting renewed confirmations on this, but HTC has released several phone models recently that show capabilities or indications that they could run an advanced GUI, as noted by Andy Beal.
There is going to be a price, and that price is $400. This is the big shocker. I had originally noted that part of the philosophy was that this product would compete in functionality with the OLPC and I inferred that it would be ad subsidized, which then started a spiral of analysis from many many folks that this phone would range in price from $200, then $100, then free.
Keep in mind, though, that this is being rolled out on an existing operator, not the 700 mhz spectrum, and not a satellite network. T-Mobile isn’t owned by Google, and neither is HTC. It would be very difficult for the service to be free, but I haven’t heard what the monthly pricing plans are going to be like, only that the device is going to cost $400. I have inquiries in at TMobile to find out the details.
Now, on to the facts that I haven’t been able to find independent verification for, but sound reasonably congruent to everything else:
- Google has formed a consortium of about 30 companies to create it. The consortium includes chip makers, OEM manufacturers, software providers, and carriers. The phone will in fact not be a product — it’s really a reference design. I’ve referred throughout this post to the gPhone as a reference design because without anyone from Google explicitly saying this, it more or less sounds like what’s happening. Google sent out requests to a whole bunch of vendors, and is putting together the pieces at the Googleplex.
- It’ll be GSM everywhere except Japan, where it will be TDMA. I actually am ashamed to admit that I don’t know all the specs on what goes on in the backplane of the different American carriers anymore – not like the days when I worked at Nokia where I had spec data ad nauseum memorized. If I had that information back from T-Mobile press relations, I could comment on this tidbit more reliably, but they haven’t gotten back to me in time for this article to go out.
- The thrust is that the gPhone is the “the anti-iPhone”. It will be an inexpensive, open design, vs. Apple’s closed, expensive design. I don’t think it’s more or less the anti-iPhone, at least not in original intent, although it could very easily be framed that way, especially with Apple’s tendency to brick iPhone in sight, these days.
- The Google phone will be announced sometime between 9/27 and 10/5. I don’t know this to
be a fact, but these dates are ones that have been bandied about by several of my sources. My advice? Buy your Google, HTC, and T-Mobile stock now. You know none of it’s gonna go down.
- The gPhone will role out simultaneously in the US, Europe China, and Japan. They have a carrier ready to go in every region. I don’t know this to be a fact, but one of my sources said that this is more or less gospel. We know they’ve been talking a lot to people in Asia, since much of the gPhone rumor seems to be originating in India, and they’ve been demonstrating it in America. T-Mobile is obviously very strong in Europe (owned by Deutsch Telekom). It’s highly possible!
That’s more or less all I know for now. I’ll probably be chiming in on the blog here with some analysis on some of the more interesting posts that will come out of this. I am, for a change, going to refrain from making sweeping predictions in this post (I’ll save those for the show), since the predictions I made last time were taken so widely out of context.
See these articles for all the old stuff I’ve said about the gPhone:
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