Google is reportedly closing in on the worldwide launch of its much-rumored branded handset, the so-called gPhone. According to Business Standard, the search giant is currently in discussions with Indian mobile operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar to debut the device in early September. Sources close to Google say a simultaneous North American and European gPhone launch is expected, with the company currently waiting for federal regulatory approval before rolling out the handset in the U.S market. The Bharti Airtel and Vodafone negotiations are said to encompass mobile data, IM and search solutions as well.
Reports suggest Google plans to invest roughly $8 billion on the gPhone and related mobile initiatives. The Wall Street Journal previously reported Google invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" in the gPhone project, and entered negotiations with T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.
During a keynote appearance last week at the Progress & Freedom Foundation's Aspen Summit, Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged the company would "probably" participate in the FCC's upcoming 700 MHz spectrum. Google had said that it would potentially bid up to $4.6 billion in the auction if the FCC would enable open applications, open devices, open wholesale services and open network access.
For more on the gPhone launch:
- read this Business Standard article