A Google phone ? what about a Google netbook ? and both for free…

“If you are a Gmail user/Google user, you will end up as an Android user” (don’t remember where I read that)

Here is some notes from a reading in WSJ and the Consumer Forrester blog.

Few take away (speculations, nothing is confirmed by Google)…
– The phone will be directly sold to consumer (direct sale without going through the carriers, hense unlock)
– Code name: Nexus One
– Manufactured by HTC
– Running Android
– Google designed the entire software experience (applications and “look and feel”)

Challenges ?
– The move could alienate wireless carriers and handset makers that offer Android phones and do not want to compete with Google
– The move also marks a rare foray into direct sales for Google. With the exception of an appliance it markets as a search tool to businesses, the company hasn’t sold hardware in the past.
– Will the phone be sold at full retail price, or will it be subsidized? (for instance by the ads running on the device)

Disruption ?
Google could subsidized it and they would be counting on advertising revenue to repay the cost. Mobile operators can subsidize phones because they repay the cost in service fees, locked in for one or two years. How much money do carriers make with monthly subscription ? $70 ? that’s a lot of ad revenue but on the long term it might be doable. The end user is still free to change operator for a cheaper service for instance, Google does not care.

What is the next ?
If subsidizing a phone is something you can think of when you are in Google position, the logical next step would be to apply the same strategy on another market: netbooks. Google is working on a cheap – free – operating system for netbook called Chrome OS! and hardware is even cheaper. My take: both – the phone and the netbook – could be given out for free…

UPDATE: more readings:
Reuters: Nexus One Available Directly Through Google Website January 5
Exclusive: first Google Phone / Nexus One photos, Android 2.1 on-board
Why the Google Phone is Really About Google Ads
Get Ready For The Google Branded Chrome OS Netbook

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