Sunday, July 13, 2008 12:33 AM
2007 was the year of speculation of a Google Phone, or Gphone. Handset manufacturer HTC was the center of attention around most of the rumors. But Google eventually squashed those rumors by announcing the Open Handset Alliance and Android. Instead of building an iPhone like device and service combined, they'd be backing an open source mobile operating system that could finally break the carriers' stranglehold on the mobile market.
Android doesn't preclude Google from creating their own mobile device as well though, that will work as a best of breed device. Google has never said they wouldn't build their own phone exactly, but when they wrote last November that they were not announcing a Gphone at that time, most of the speculation died down.
But today Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt made nebulous statements that are leaving us wondering if Google is now thinking of building that gPhone: "The trio of Google execs also used the opportunity to talk about the inroads the company is making with its own branded mobile phone as a replacement for the iPhone."
As Om Malik notes, this isn't a direct quote but rather a summary of what was said by Hollywood Reporter writer Dan Cox. But a "branded mobile phone" is very different than Google's Android project. Unless Cox got the summary wrong, the statements were significant.
And there's more - we've been tracking a story recently that San Francisco based Ammunition Design Group, which has designed computers, mobile phones, hardware, and other devices for companies like Palm, Hewlett-Packard, Dell Computer, and Logitech, may be working with Google to create an Android-based, Google branded Gphone. Founder Robert Brunner was previously the Director of Industrial Design at Apple Computer until 1997, where he provided design and direction for all Apple product lines.
The image above is a phone that Ammunition Group designed for Sprint and is shown on their website.
This all may be nothing, but we've got a good source swearing that Ammunition Group is designing the Gphone and that it is a seriously beautiful device. We've moved this story from the back burner into high gear, we'll see what we come up with as we dig.