Google's mobile plans
"Mobile, mobile, mobile," Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the Web 2.0 Expo audience when asked for the Web's biggest growth areas.
Mobile AdWords have done well for Google, but "there are probably other monetization means in mobile as well," Deep Nishar, Director of Product Development at Google said at a separate conference in Tokyo. Google currently has deals with the two main Japanese carriers, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, to provide mobile search for a combined 71 million handsets.
So where is Google going next? The recent release of a free voice-driven mobile search is one indication. (An interesting conspiracy theory is that the 411 search is cover for a Google effort to collect voice samples and home its voice recognition tools for future applications.) Expanding Mobile AdWords beyond Japan is practically a given; competitors like Third Screen and AdMob are gaining ground by the day.
And then, of course, there's the Google phone. As FierceWireless reported last month, Google's chief executive for Spain and Portugal confirms the company is working on its own mobile phone "as one of 18 research and development initiatives." Blogger Danny Sullivan makes the case that Google is actually gearing up for a mass release of a device with a timeline of evidence right up to a recent DigiTimes report that Taiwanese manufacturer High Tech Computer (HTC) is currently building phones for the search giant, with shipments expected by the end of the year. I would also include this job ad, which seeks a Program Manager to "launch hardware products into mass production."
Update: Last week I reported that the HTC Advantage would probably cost around €1,000. Official prices have still not been released, but a knowledgeable tipster wrote in to say the retail prices is likely closer to $800.