Google just submitted an official letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin signaling their intent to bid on the upcoming 700 Mhz range auction provided certain conditions are met. Google is asking for open applications, open devices, open networks, and open services, which begs the question: Is an Open Source Google Phone “Gphone” in the works?
Google is reportedly prepared to bid $4.6 Billion dollars for the spectrum if the FCC allows for all the “openness”. By some estimates, it would cost another $2 Billion to build a nationwide wireless network. So for under $7 Billion dollars Google could be your next phone company.
Think about that for a minute.
Telecoms control one of the most largest and important markets today – cellphones. They have a tight grip on how (and for what price) you can access the web and mobile content on your phone. Everyone agrees that it’s an insanely large and important market, yet innovation has been largely stifled – and I don’t know anyone who is truly happy with their cellphone service or mobile web access.
Google could change the face of mobile as we know it (and I hope they do).
Does Apple have a buyout provision in their deal with AT&T? The iPhone is revolutionary in its interface, but it’s still tethered to a (hopefully) soon-to-be antiquated wireless system.
If you take the interface of the iPhone, put it into an open-source cellphone/pda and combine that with an open wireless platform, (monetized with Google ads) – you just might have the workings of the next major techological revolution of the 21st century – the Gphone.
Update: One day later, NYT agrees ” There might even be a Google phone.”