Google's new gPhone goes open source

Google is finally coming clean on open source in the mobile world.

The New York Times is reporting that Google's "gPhone" is coming soon, will be advertising-supported, and will run Linux. None of these should be surprising to any who have kept tabs on Google over the years. Not to state it too bluntly, but Google is essentially a massive, heavily modified Linux server farm. So, it's no small surprise that Google is opting for Linux on its mobile phone, as well.

Whatever Google has been to open source on the server, it seems ready to "play ball" with open source on its mobile clients:

"The essential point is that Google?s strategy is to lead the creation of an open-source competitor to Windows Mobile," said one industry executive, who did not want his name used because his company has had contacts with Google. "They will put it in the open-source world and take the economics out of the Windows Mobile business."

This makes sense because Google really shouldn't care much about the applications on the phone as applications, per se. It cares about the advertising revenue generated by use of the phone. Sharing software is a way to harvest more ad dollars.

That's smart business.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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