[Note: This is an excerpt of a story I’m preparing for SiliconANGLE. I’ll probably release it in parts here at Rizzn.com as I finish it. You can cheat and look back at my source docs by searching my archives on the site. –mrh]
Yesterday, I sorta staked out my territory on the whole gPhone story. I’m going to expand a little bit on that tonight by going over my coverage of the topic and extrapolate some analysis based on what I knew then and what I know now two years later.
I was originally contacted by a friend who worked for Google, someone I have known for many many years, who excitedly told me about something he called a “gPhone” around the end of August, 2007. This is the guy, who if you’ve been doing your homework, the press dubbed “Deep Throat.”
Here’s what I originally wrote:
“He said that he was baffled at Google’s apparent internal confusion on the GPhone issue – that they’ve actually demo’ed the thing in public before … He said that the Google (applications) Suite is going to play a huge role in the usability of the GPhone, and the thought process behind it’s functionality is less about beating the iPhone and more about beating the [OLPC], which provides a huge clue behind what will be the pricing structure on this.”
“Essentially, this is a post to say that this is a solid confirmation on the GPhone. Regarding the two week timetable on it’s release, he said he could not confirm that part of the story.”
“Other tidbits that I’m trying to recall based on questions I’ve received from readers:
- It’s a modified Linux kernel
- There is integrated GPS and GoogleMaps
I couldn’t get much more out of him than that, and he wouldn’t put anything on the record, due to his unique position at the company he wasn’t sure what exactly he was allowed to say, but his exuberance and confidence was quite clear when he talked about the GPhone.”
It’s pretty interesting how much of that continues to hold up with what we know (and think we know) today about the status of Google’s mobile efforts. There was one part of one sentence I wrote that was very wildly misconstrued when I was quoted around the blogosphere and the world tech press: “the thought process behind it’s functionality is less about beating the iPhone and more about beating the [OLPC]…”
That sentence was actually originally written as “the thought process behind it’s functionality is less about beating the iPhone and more about beating the $100 laptop,” which was still popular nomenclature at the time for the OLPC (which subsequently reached price levels of around $250-500 per unit, depending on how it was purchased and for whom. The common trope that was repeated around the web was that “Google is supposedly selling this device for $100 and is (as Om Malik thought I said) out to crush the OLPC project.”
That, in fact, was not what my source was driving it, and in later updates to my original post, I clarified this point.
“Regarding the $100 laptop strategy, he clarified that it’s more of a long term possibility (based on functionality) of this device rather than an original design strategy. Development on this began, as I understand it, before both the $100 Laptop and the iPhone hit the market.”
I think this development strategy was initially borne out in the Android operating system, and was subsequently revitalized as a concept during the recent ChromeOS announcement.