updated 09:10 am EDT, Tue October 30, 2007
Google Mobile OS Soon
Google is planning to announce its first mobile OS and unsettle the phone industry in as little as two weeks, according to anonymous sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The financial paper claims the search engine is ready to reveal an open-source OS for phones that would wrap together some of its core web programs, including Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. The goal would be to loosen the grip held by cellphone carriers on the choice of programs available on phones; where most carriers often block competing software, the Google platform would allow most any code and would permit developers to hook into specific hardware features, such as using GPS for geotagging photos. In exchange, Google could embed context-sensitive ads where appropriate
The Mountain View, California-based firm is also reportedly shopping the OS around to multiple handset makers and carriers, with HTC and LG potentially launching hardware using the software while T-Mobile USA, 3 UK, and Orange so far open to carrying finished devices. Despite the allegedly imminent announcement, Google's full launch would wait until mid-2008 to give hardware makers and software developers time to implement the OS and applications.
This latest claim echoes previous rumors, which saw Google developing a custom version of Linux in part to undermine partly limited platforms like Symbian or Windows Mobile, which allow third-party programs but often set certification rules or other restrictions to prevent rogue or unreliable software. Google itself also drew attention by buying Jaiku, which gives the company access to a live status updating program for phones.