Google’s dialing in to new market

Rico Gagliano Sep 23, 2008

Google’s dialing in to new market

Rico Gagliano Sep 23, 2008


KAI RYSSDAL: With the financial world in tatters we haven’t really had a chance to check in with Google lately. Just to fill you in on the progress of their business model, that is, to rule the world. The company’s latest target is the the mobile phone market.

Google unveiled its long-awaited smart phone today. Android goes on sale next month at your local neighborhood T-Mobile store. There will be comparisons with the iPhone — touch screen, music player and the rest. Looks like a full-frontal assault on Apple, but Google may have another competitor in mind. Marketplace’s Rico Gagliano reports.

RICO GAGLIANO: The G1 sports a slide-up screen, a raised keypad, and open-source software. Anyone can design their own applications for it. The iPhone has none of that, but minutes after the G1 was unveiled, tech analysts started comparing it to that other device.

KENT GERMAN: Overall, I think it could be a good alternative. Maybe not necessarily a competitor, in a lot of ways, to the iPhone.

That’s Kent German, senior editor at C-Net. He thinks the G1 has enough features to keep T-Mobile customers from switching to AT&T, the only telecom company that supports Apple’s phone.

But competing with Apple may not be the point. Rob Enderle is technology analyst for the Enderle Group.

ROB ENDERLE: Google’s attempting with this phone, their Android platform and their Chrome browser to make a solid run at Microsoft.

The idea, Enderle says, is to compete with Microsoft in areas where it isn’t already dominant.

ENDERLE: Smart phones are moving against PC’s as the primary way people are accessing the Web, communicating and running applications. And smart phones are not dominated by anybody at this point.

Getting its Android operating system on cell phones is also a good way for Google to do what it does best: sell search advertising.

ENDERLE: Google’s goal is not to make money off the phone. In fact, the original plan was to see if they could give the phones away for free. Their goal is to make these things advertising-supported, because that’s their business model.

T-Mobile will start selling the G1 in October.

In Los Angeles, I’m Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.

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