Mountain View (CA) - In a move that could bring Google to the physical consumer market for the first time, reports have surfaced over the past few days about the Internet leader in talks with other companies to bring forth the Google Phone.
Over the weekend, it was reported that Orange, a big cell phone service operator in Europe, was in discussions with the search engine leader to provide the wireless features for a possible line of Google-branded phones. Forbes also says that High Tech Computer, a Taiwanese-based hardware manufacturer, was likely to grab the contract with Google to actually make the phones.
The project, which may actually come to fruition, is reported to be valued at billions of dollars. The earliest that Google Phone would come to market is more than 12 months away. Obviously, no pricing details have been mentioned. However, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said previously that mobile phones should be free for consumers. Like Google's online clones of Microsoft Word and Excel, the Google Phone could very likely have integrated sponsored advertisements to subsidize the end-user cost.
In a ZDNet blog entry, Google's co-founder Larry Page, is recalled saying in a conference call earlier this year, that a Google brand phone would make since because of the company's presence in mobile Internet. "We are bringing more of our products to mobile phone users. Since there are at least twice as many mobile phones than PCs in use globally, and mobile usage is growing faster than PCs, we want to make Google available in a device-independent way," he said.
Since Google earned its designation as a powerhouse company, rumors have popped up speculating that the search giant would release some sort of tangible consumer product, but so far the entire business is almost completely in cyberspace. Google does sell search engine appliances to businesses.