Reports circulating in Silicon Valley suggest internet search giant Google will finally release its own branded handset in direct competition to Apple’s all-conquering iPhone early next year.
Inside sources suggest the super Android handset will be thinner than other smartphones available on the market today and vastly eclipse the capabilities of Android-based handsets from the likes of HTC and Samsung.
Citing unnamed sources close to the deal, TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington claimed that “everything [released] up until now has just been a warm up to the Google Phone”.
“There are a few things we have absolutely confirmed: Google is building their own branded phone that they’ll sell directly and through retailers,” wrote Arrington.
“They were long planning to have the phone be available by the holidays, but it has now slipped to early 2010. The phone will be produced by a major phone manufacturer but will only have Google branding (Microsoft did the same thing with their first Zunes, which were built by Toshiba).”
Arrington went on to claim that there “won’t be any negotiation or compromise over the phone’s design of features – Google is dictating every last piece of it. Like the iPhone for Apple, this phone will be Google’s pure vision of what a phone should be.”
Arrington’s assumptions have raised the ire of rival US-based commentators who argue such a development would ultimately strain relationships between Google and Android platform developers such as HTC, which is one of the biggest smartphone developers in the world.
San Francisco Chronicle technology blogger Ryan Kim argued that “companies like Motorola and HTC are building all or a big chunk of their smart phone business around Android, but they wouldn't be happy to hear that Google will be competing with them and in theory, putting out an Android device that is software wise a step ahead”.
Still, industry analysts including Gartner believe the future is bright for the Android platform and smartphones in general.
The company recently predicted global smartphone shipments would grow 29 percent year on year to 180 million units by 2012, exceeding annual notebook PC shipments. In the same year, Android-equipped handsets will account for 14 percent of the total market, exceeding iPhone and Windows Mobile and Blackberry, but still trailing Symbian OS.