Google's much-discussed gPhone officially remains a rumor as of this writing, but BusinessWeek--citing a source intimately familiar with goings-on within the search giant--says the handset will herald the launch of a new mobile OS positioned as a rival to Symbian, Windows Mobile and all the other usual suspects. According to BusinessWeek, the OS--which may or may not arrive under the gPhone name--is based on proprietary software acquired via Google's 2005 purchase of Boston-based startup Android. It is designed to facilitate lower-priced smartphones enabling more robust Web browsing and multimedia applications, and will of course support Google-branded apps and services as well.
A number of handset manufacturers have already developed prototype handsets based on the Google platform, the source said--the devices, expected to retail for about $100, are presently being shopped to carriers worldwide. Google also hopes to lure subscribers by promising reduced monthly service charges in exchange for ad-supported services.
Google declined to confirm or deny the BusinessWeek report.
For more on the gPhone speculation:
- read this BusinessWeek article