Now that The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google will announce a new software package that aims at revolutionizing the way we interact and use cell phones, it strikes a bit odd to me that all of this is coming to fruition right now.
Now, obviously I'm not privy to Google strategy sessions, and my proceeding predictions are purely speculation, but doesn't it seem a bit interesting that Google is poised to mount an all-out offensive on the cell phone business? And whether you believe Gphone will be a device or an OS, it doesn't really matter -- that attack has become just one part of the entire mobile assault.
If you ask me, this is looking more and more like a premeditated, 5-year, three-point plan that aims at one eventual conclusion: reinvent the cell phone business.
First Objective: Use the next five years to allow the Gphone to dominate
If you read between the lines on most of Google's announcements on the Gphone, it becomes blatantly clear what the company wants: a new and inventive approach to owning and operating cell phones.
As most of us who own smartphones are all too well aware, Windows Mobile and Palm OS are just plain awful. Windows Mobile is clunky and too hard to navigate, and Palm OS is outdated and ugly. And while both operating systems have some redeeming qualities, neither features anything compelling enough to justify your loyalty.
But now consider what the future of Google's mobile platform can be. I believe Google truly understands what consumers want and actively finds ways to make those desires a reality.
instead of a locked-down phone that holds us back from doing what we want, the Gphone will be open, which means you can change the operating system in anyway you see fit, and any and all applications will be welcomed (and encouraged) for use on the device running Gphone.
As cell phones become more sophisticated, people will find new ways of using them to their own personal advantage. And with that in mind, who can say that Palm OS or Windows Mobile can truly provide the attributes we will look for in a cell phone: ease of use, customization, and a fully-integrated environment that allows each and every person the opportunity to do what they want, how they want, and when they want with a device they own.
Because of this, I can definitely see Gphone become the dominant force in mobile OSs within the next five years. And if you ask me, so can Google.
Objective 2: Gain control of the 700MHz spectrum
But the entire plan for Google doesn't begin and end with Gphone. Another important objective that Google must satisfy is its control of the 700MHz spectrum, which will go to auction on January 24th.
Verizon Wireless had previously gone on record to publicly complain about Google's call (and the FCC's approval) for open-access to the 700MHz spectrum. In fact, the company went so far as to complain that the rules were, "arbitrary, capricious [and] unsupported by substantial evidence."
But just last week, Verizon suddenly gave up the fight and paved the way for Google to gain control of the 700MHz spectrum. Could it be that Verizon and Google are in talks about the Gphone and Google applied some pressure on the telecom? You better believe it.
The 700MHz spectrum is probably the most important element of this entire plan. In fact, without it, Google would never be able to realize its goal of revolutionizing the cell phone industry.
First off, the 700MHz spectrum can go anywhere and will travel through walls and buildings better than any other currently available spectrum. What does this mean for us? Imagine free Wi-Fi all over the country that can be accessed by any device at any time.
Now, as you might imagine, it will take time to get this up and running, and most estimates shoot for a widespread release of the spectrum of about five years. Ironically (or maybe not), that falls nicely in line with the Gphone's ubiquity. Think about it: Windows Mobile has only been around for four years (if you don't include Pocket PC in the calculation. If you do, it's seven years) and it has been able to capture a significant portion of the mobile smartphone market. Couldn't it be said that Google, with its revolutionary new approach, could do the same in the same period?
Objective 3: Apple, Apple, Apple
Besides Al Gore and Steve Jobs, there is one individual currently sitting on the Board of Directors at Apple that may have some impact on the future of both companies: Google chairman and CEO, Eric Schmidt.
And, as I'm sure you're well aware, there is also this interesting device that Apple currently sells called the iPhone that, believe it or not, allows you to access the Internet via Wi-Fi. And, interestingly enough, it also has a contract with AT&T that, ironically, will end in about five years. You know -- when the Wi-Fi spectrum is up and running and Gphone has finally taken its place as a force in the mobile cell phone market. Interesting, isn't it?
That's right, folks. Step three in Google's plan absolutely revolves around the iPhone. If Google and Apple weren't so close, I honestly believe the former would have released a cell phone that could compete on the same level as the iPhone. But instead, I believe both companies are working together to obtain a stranglehold on the cell phone market.
First off, Google and the cell phone companies have a strained relationship (at best) and we all know that Apple only allied with AT&T because it needed a carrier to sell its device on. But the future looks much different for both companies.
Instead of relying on cell phone carriers, the sixth-generation iPhone will work exclusively on Google's broadband spectrum and become the face of the new cell phone market. Beyond that, Google will have controlled enough of the mobile phone software market that cell phone manufacturers it has allied with will line up in droves just to be able to get their own phones on the new spectrum. And in the end, it's the Verizons, AT&Ts and Sprints of the world that were outsmarted by two CEOs that had this whole thing planned for five years.