Word is that Internet superpower Google is preparing to enter the cell phone marketplace with a handset possibly being developed in conjunction with Samsung. While rumors of a device named "Switch" have been floating around the Net for a few months now, it was only last week that reports surfaced quoting a high-level Google exec as having confirmed the existence of a Google-branded phone in the development labs:
The head of Google in Spain and Portugal has confirmed that Google is working on a mobile phone. "Some of the time the engineers are dedicated to developing a mobile phone," Isabel Aguilera is quoted as saying on the Spanish-news Web site Noticias.com. (news.com.com/2061-10812_3-6167826.html)
Also generating buzz is a post in the MobileBurn Forums alleging that an online survey asked about user interest in a Google Phone, and even contained a mockup of a QWERTY-enabled slider phone with a Google logo. See the forum thread here: forums.mobileburn.com/showthread.php't=21114 ... and the mockup photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16386322@N00/423072099/
While other Google officials wouldn't confirm the project, let alone any details, given the huge industry interest in mobile Web content and the recent inclusion of Google Maps on several handsets including the Nokia N95 and forthcoming Apple iPhone, a Google Phone doesn't seem so far fetched. Speculation is building over such a phone possibly being sold as an unlocked handset, and being sold directly by Google at a low cost offset by the delivery of ads as part of the cellular and/or data service.
First Apple, now Google? Good by me - the US cellular market is due for some new blood.