Mike Arrington's following up yesterday's rumour of the Google Phone with an interesting angle: That it may be VoIP and data only, having no traditional voice plan. Sounds like the telcos worst nightmare.
But Mike notes that AT&T is already OK with setting up Windows and Blackberry phones with data only plans (but not iPhones) and that a data/VoIP-only phone is what Google proposed to the FCC when bidding on wireless spectrum back in the day.
The initial post that there would be a Google phone — an in-house, top-to-bottom Google developed handset running android — was met with scepticism by the press. Most people quoted previous statements from Google's Andy Rubin stating that they would not "compete with their own customers" by releasing a handset of their own. That mimes Microsoft's strategy with PCs and Phones, versus their in-house designed Xbox and Zune hardware.
But there is a difference here, despite the quote from Rubin: Google does not charge for Android, so are these people customers or beneficiaries of the only real modern mobile operating system that they can licence. And Free. I mean, WinMo is currently terrible and costs money and Symbian is a joke. Blackberry isn't up for grabs. And does Google care if they lose a few points of market share? I don't think so.
This isn't even close to their core business, except that whenever someone gets on the internet, Google stands to make money. In this case, Google wins not by licensing more OSes to be used on phones, but in the very act of getting more phones in the world, no matter what the OS or platform. Now that's scary power. [Techcrunch]