The New York Times is reporting that the much-hyped “Google phone” isn’t going to be a dedicated device, but a mobile Linux-based operating system and suite of software that will run on phones made by others. This is more or less what many Google-watchers expected (including me — I wrote a column about the speculation for the Globe awhile back, which is here).
The idea of Google actually getting into the hardware game never made any sense to me, and still doesn’t. The idea of a compact, cross-platform mobile OS with Google software like a free (ad-supported) browser built in, however, makes a huge amount of sense to me. That would pretty much take the war to Microsoft’s doorstep, since it would compete head-on with Windows Mobile — and it’s about time that someone did, since Windows Mobile is still miles away from what it could be.
If Google’s mobile OS is free, light and fast, it could make a serious dent in the mobile market.