Technology & Science

Google ready to make splash in phone market: report

Google will announce a suite of software and services for mobile phones within the next two weeks, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Google Inc. will announce a suite of software and services for mobile phones within the next two weeks, which will allow handset makers to roll out Google-oriented devices by mid-2008, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said Google is looking to introduce an operating system for mobile phones that would smoothly integrate its offerings, including search, Gmail, Maps andYouTube.

The internet company has reportedly discussed partnering with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC Corp. and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. to build a phone loaded with Google features. As for carrier partners, Google is reportedly favouring T-Mobile in the United States, Orange in France and 3 in the United Kingdom. However, France Telecom, which owns Orange, has formally denied being in talks with Google.

The report was the latest in a long string of rumours about Google entering the cellphone market. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment.

Google's applications are already widely available on cellphones, but the new operating system would not only tie them together, it would allow outside developers to create software for phones and break the tight grip that North American carriers have on what features are allowed on the devices.

Google and others, including iPhone maker Apple Inc., have criticized carriers for being a bottleneck on what consumers can put on their phones, and for holding back the development of the mobile internet.

Chief executive officer Eric Schmidt has said Google needs toexpand its search-related advertising strategy, which is responsible for the vast majority of its revenue, onto mobile phones. The idea of personalized, mobile ads will prove very lucrative for companies such as Google, he said, and the mobile internet featuresthat will go along with themneed to improve.

"The most likely scenario from a Google perspective is to build some, if you will, inspirational platform [applications], but primarily focus on getting third parties to do it because that's where the innovation will come from," he said at the All Things Digital conference in California in May.