Here's the newsflash: Not only is Google not making its own cell phone, it's hoping other people will do most of the work of coming up with new software. Honestly, are you people dense? I don't know how many times I have to tell you this: Google is not coming out with a Googlephone. But the idea is clearly so entrancing that tech reporters keep returning to it, as in a new Wall Street Journal article. The short version: Google will announce plans that, instead of involving its own models of cell phones, will work with existing carriers and handset makers.
It's a big comedown for Google's wireless engineers, who have, it seems, wasted as much as $100 million Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin staked on the failed Googlephone project. But as a piece of corporate jujitsu, the Googlephone may still pay off brilliantly. The mere threat of a Googlephone may have been enough to corral some wireless carriers into its camp.
And the most intriguing element? Google's wireless software efforts will pull in existing mobile versions of Gmail and YouTube, among other Google services. But that's not the key part, as my colleague Gizmodo editor Brian Lam has speculated. No, instead, Google's hoping to establish a software platform that's open to third-party developers.
And that may be the trickiest part to sell. Wireless carriers are famous for restricting what software can run over their networks. That they would crown Google as the new kingmaker seems unlikely. About as unlikely, in fact, as a Googlephone.