If Web rumours are anything to go by, Apple isn't the only multinational company getting into mobile phones. Google, the search engine that's rapidly taking over the world, is rumoured to be making a mobile phone too (pictured), although, unlike Apple, this device will apparently be a joint venture with an established mobile phone company.
The Google phone speculation began in January with some leaked images over at Engadget. According to the article, the 'Googlephone' is called the Switch and was crafted by Samsung. It features a massive touchscreen interface and comes with a built-in GPS receiver. Instead of on-board storage, all your applications are accessed over a network, similar to how you access Google's online word processor.
Two months after the alleged Google phone pictures were posted, a technologist-turned-entrepreneur called Simeon Simeonov picked up the story and added a little more flavour to it. Simeonov points out that Google has been slowly acquiring mobile-centric companies, including Reqwireless, which makes mobile applications, and Skia, which deals with mobile phone graphics.
He also highlights Google's recent partnership with Samsung to bring Google applications to certain Samsung phones. Simeonov concludes by speculating that Google is planning to build distribution relationships with multiple carriers by allowing them to minimise subscription and marketing costs. All in all, his argument is fairly convincing.
Indeed, Simeonov's article seems to have made many people, including the likes of Slashphone, CrunchGear and ourselves, a little hot under the collar. The idea of Google making a phone is simply too good to be true -- and therein lies the problem. Is this just a case of mobile phone fanboys having a copy of Photoshop CS2 and too much time on their hands?
Or worse still, is this a case of tech writers being so keen to see new and exciting products that any blurry image will get us hyping it up as if it were real? My fear is that the latter is the truth and while we all like a good blurry photo, we're in danger of being led astray by 14-year-old boys with a penchant for drawing concept phones.
Of course, if there's one thing the iPhone taught us, it's never to underestimate the power of rumours -- and while I'd like to be able to tell you this is either definitely true or completely rubbish, I simply don't know. So the game continues and we play second fiddle to the brave men and women who actually manage to sneak out real photos of prototype products.
As for the Photoshoppers, who knows? Maybe it's your stuff that ends up inspiring companies to make those products, so even though it pains me when you're wrong, keep it coming. -Andrew Lim