According to the Wall Street Journal we won’t have to wait much longer to hear from Google about its big plans in wireless. The company looks set to make a splash in the mobile market on Monday, announcing an alliance with various handset makers and cellphone operators around the world that are willing to push its “open” platform for cellphone applications, sources say. It’s always possible the announcement’s timing could change, but Monday looks like the day at this point.
The U.S. carriers likely to be part of the announcement are T-Mobile and Sprint, according to our sources, but there could be others by the time Google says its piece. While Sprint appears to be agreeing to work with Google to put the Web giant’s new Linux-based open operating system into phones, T-Mobile will probably go even further: the company has worked with Google for months on plans to build Google-powered phones with a variety of Google software and applications. As far as handset partners for Google, Taiwan’s HTC is a likely bet, our sources say. Samsung, LG, and SonyEricsson are also possible, but we’ll wait and see the full roster. Equally interesting will be who isn’t on the list.
Don’t expect to see any devices soon – the middle of next year is the earliest Google-powered phones could come to market.
What will the impact be? Well, Google is trying to remake cellphones in the model of the Web, making them as open as possible to new applications in areas like social networking and map-based services. It’s too early to tell whether this will be a revolution in cellphones – or just an evolution that improves on the relatively open platforms already out there, like rival Microsoft’s Windows mobile. If the partnerships result in Google-branded devices hitting the market, we’ll get a chance to see how much pull the Google name really has in the wireless market. We’ve already seen the pull Apple has.
Our guess: It’s one more piece of tech that people will want to bring into the workplace and that corporate-tech departments won’t know how to respond to.