According to the blogosphere, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has flipped-flopped on its plans for building its own mobile phone. But if it’s true, the software king will have changed its tune on much more than just its device plans. A Google phone would imply that while the company is busy touting its open-source operating system and encouraging free-for-all access, it is also creating a specific device optimized for its own applications. If Google launches apps that only work on its own branded Gphone, or even just work better on it, it’s contradicting its very strategy with Android.
Whereas Apple always took the “our phone, our apps” approach, Google has been the staunch advocate for the “your platform, do what you will” approach to mobile development. That mindset works great for an operating system, but if Google becomes its own hardware vendor, it would be incentivized to undercut its own strategy. Not only that, but it would also then be competing against the slew of handset makers who have promised Android devices. And considering the growing popularity of the Android platform, if Google wants a new feature in its phones, it can simply add it the OS - no new phone needed.
Granted, this is all still a big “if” since Google hasn’t confirmed these plans – and at one point flat-out denied them. But TechCrunch is reporting that a pure Google phone is a definite based on “super-high confidence information,” although it now concedes it may just be a voice-over IP and data device. For as sure as TechCrunch was, there is no shortage of people quick to respond that Google making a branded phone is insane and just plain inaccurate. I hope they are right.