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Google's Gphone: fact or fiction?

Search-engine and advertising giant Google is reportedly planning to launch an iPhone killer. I question the logic of doing so.

Google started off as search engine, turned into an advertising giant and is now targeting the computer-software market. But is Google's next step to take on Nokia, Motorola and, shortly, Apple in the mobile phone market? Rumours that the company sees mobile handsets as its next big frontier have been circulating the internet since last year – with some suggesting an official announcement would be made by the time you read this.

But what could Google bring to the mobile market, and how would a handset fall within the company's grand plan to make information accessible to everyone?

Google Switch

With the mobile phone soon to become the most popular device to access the internet, it wouldn't be unthinkable for the world's largest search-engine firm to want a piece of the action. In March, various websites even claimed to have inside knowledge of the handset. According to the rumour mill, it goes by the codename 'Switch' and will have the look and feel of a BlackBerry but with better web capabilities. Industry experts have added weight to the rumours. "In the wake of Apple and other big-name brands moving into the handset business, why not Google?" said Phil Taylor, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

But in all the commentary from news agencies, blogs, gadget sites, analysts, investors and, reportedly, Google's own operations chief for Spain and Portugal, there haven't been many compelling reasons given as to why Google would enter the mobile market.

HANDS ON IPHONE PREVIEW - CLICK HERE

Big mistake

The mobile-phone market is a cut-throat business – just ask BenQ. The company tried to revitalise Siemens AG's mobile-phone operations, but one year and $1bn later it gave up. It's not hard to see why Nokia and Motorola gained market share against most of their rivals last year. But even their stock prices have suffered, because fierce price competition for handsets hurt their profitability.

Still, the idea of a Google phone is compelling. If nothing else it's excellent publicity for Google, especially if it's soon to release some new mobile phone applications.

Rumours of a Google phone surfaced in December, when the company supposedly planned to team up with Taiwan's High Tech Computer to make the device.

But there's no good motive for such a move. Google makes software, not hardware. Similar claims that it was developing a PC a few years back turned out to be wrong. It was simply making software for PCs.

Google's Gphone: fact or fiction? (Part 2 - click here)

Who would you most trust to make your next mobile phone?

This story appears in the June 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents

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