Is Google Building a Smartphone?

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Google could well be making a very real play for the iPhone market by building its own smartphone, one that specifically isn’t locked to any carriers.

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Word on TheStreet is that Google is working alongside a smartphone manufacturer to produce a device that would be both Google-branded and likely sold SIM-free. The aim seems very much to break the practical death-grip that cellular carriers have on smartphones and the apps that they can run.

The most interesting piece of news in the whole business is certainly the fact that Google intends to offer its smartphone through normal retail channels, that is to say, not as part of a contract agreement with a network provider. What that means is that customers would have an Android-powered device on which they could run… just about anything they pleased. It’d certainly be a break from the current situation, whereby we’ve seen all manner of apps blocked from Apple’s App Store.

If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how Google goes about marketing the device. Without the cost of the phone itself being subsidised by carriers it’s going to be very hard indeed to make sure that the device’s cost itself doesn’t seem prohibitive.

For now we’re curious to see how it works out. We’re certainly in an age where a lot of people are quite happy with their carrier and billing arrangement, happy enough that picking up a new phone and being able to throw any old SIM you have lying around could be a big draw.

The other point to keep in mind is that, if Google gains traction with its own smartphone, then it’ll drive interest in Android and Android apps, which in turn would drive interest in Google’s upcoming Chrome OS.

Still, for those who’d like to read more about Google’s potential smartphone offering, you’d do well to read TheStreet’s article on it, which has some very interesting bits and pieces indeed.

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