Google to announce mobile platform

Google will unveil an ambitious mobile application development platform this week

Google negotiators this weekend continue to hammer out agreements with wireless carriers, handset makers, software developers and hardware providers, as the company prepares to announce an ambitious platform for creating mobile applications.

Although Google has declined to comment for months on its rumored move into the mobile space, sources said the company will make an announcement Monday at 11 a.m. ET, and that details of the plan are being finalized this weekend.

Google will announce an open source development platform for mobile applications that will contain a full set of components, including an operating system, a set of common APIs, a middleware layer, a customizable user interface and even a mobile browser, sources said. Instant messaging standard protocols will also be supported.

The platform is intended to simplify the process of creating and deploying mobile applications, so that an application can be built once and be compatible with multiple phones.

On the partner side, well over 30 industry heavyweights are already on board, including Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Nvidia, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, China Mobile, Telefonica, NTT DoCoMo, LG Electronics and HTC, the sources said.

With negotiations expected to continue through the weekend and into Monday morning, it's possible that the list could exceed 40 partners. Among those not supporting the announcement at press time are Nokia, Verizon and Apple.

The development platform will be freely available to anyone who wants to use it, and, aside from a common core, will provide a lot of flexibility for modifications and extensions.

The ultimate goal is to lower the costs and simplify the creation of mobile applications and spur innovation that, as Google sees it, has been hampered by technical fragmentation. As such, the Google offering will rival existing mobile platforms from Microsoft and Symbian.

For Google, the benefit will come indirectly from an acceleration in improvements to mobile phone interfaces, which the company reasons will make it easier for people to access online services, like search engines, and applications, from their mobile phones. The intent is to bridge the gap between the Internet and mobile phones.

As usage of Google online services increases on mobile devices, so will the advertising revenue the company generates.

Mobile advertising is a tiny market but is expected to grow quickly in coming years. According to Opus Research, mobile advertising spending in North America and Western Europe will reach a combined US$5.08 billion [b] by 2012, up from an estimated US$106.8 million [m] at the end of this year. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 116 percent.

Opus Research, which released the forecast last week, said that improving the mobile user experience will drive ad revenue growth, which will prompt more people to spend more time using the Internet via their mobile phones.

In addition to Google, all other major providers of online services, like AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft, are busy tweaking their Web sites and Web applications for use via mobile phones.

As the Google deal takes its final shape, it appears more and more likely that it might pit Google against its traditional ally Apple, and align it with carriers that have been hurt by the success of the iPhone.

Although the platform will be available to anyone, including Apple, it could indirectly accelerate the pace at which competing handsets catch up with the iPhone's user experience innovations.

A few weeks ago, Apple announced it will release a software development kit so that third-party developers can build applications for the iPhone. It expects to make it available in February.

If Apple is absent from the partner list in Monday's announcement, it could signal that Steve Jobs's company views the Google platform as a negative development in the mobile market, an interesting situation, considering Google's CEO Eric Schmidt sits on Apple's board.

The intensity of this weekend's negotiations is not surprising, but rather reflective of the bold undertaking Google has assumed in the notoriously complicated world of dealmaking in the wireless market.

As has been reported previously, the components of the Google platform will not be delivered until at least mid-2008. At some point, the effort might even yield a Google-branded phone, sources said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?