Okay, so a few press releases, a giant conference call, and an afternoon's worth of reporting and blogging later, here's what I can tell you about the Gphone. There is no Gphone, but there will be dozens of Gphones. Google is releasing a mobile phone platform called Android, and has partnered with a few dozen handset and chip/parts makers, carriers, and others to form the Open Handset Alliance, which is seemingly going to do some combination of the following:
- Release a bunch of phones, both on the major carriers and unlocked, starting in the first half of 2008. Some of these devices will be QWERTY-fied smartphones, some will be more like regular sliders and flips and such.
- Not release a Google-branded phone anytime soon, but also not say "never" when it comes to releasing a Google-branded mobile phone.
- Release a software development kit next week so developers can start building all kinds of applications and widgets and such for those handsets before they hit the market.
- Provide the infrastructure for Google to deliver all kinds of ads to your cell phone
- Take on Windows Mobile, Symbian, Apple, Palm, and anyone else who makes a mobile phone platform for control of the world's mobile handsets. Not surprisingly, none of these "already have our own mobile platform" companies are part of the OHA club just yet.
A few interesting notes from the call. First, Qualcomm said they're focusing on a new chipset to drive smartphones into the mass market at a price point under $200. Second, HTC has been hard at work on an Anrdoid-powered phone that they're all excited about - we probably won't see it until Q3 of 2008, though. You can, however, take Forbes' word for it that the phone is code named "Dream," features a "time sensitive" touchscreen and swivel-out keyboard, and measures about three by five inches. (Read more on that here.)
Third, Android is all about the Internet, and "includes a full Web browser [and] full Web experience ... every application that runs well in a future Web environment should run well on Android." That's in the words of Google. Translated, it means the next frontier is the Internet that's in your pocket, and Google wants to monetize your pocket. Now. Lucky for us, they've been pretty good this far about monetizing your desktop in a useful way.
And, of course, Google said Android is totally awesome, and will let you do things with your mobile devices that you've never thought of before. They did not confirm that it will get your coffee in the morning, settle the baby when she's crying, or make you richer, thinner, and taller, however.