Forget iPhone, here comes gPhone: Google-branded handset unveiled next week

Still reeling from Apple’s entry into the mobile market, traditional cellphone makers like Nokia and Motorola are about to face a potentially even bigger kick in the pants: Google’s gPhone.

For the past 12 months, the telco industry debated whether Google’s open source Android project will result in a mobile software platform for use on any brand of phone; a Google-branded cellphone or “G”, or a combination of both.

Now, the murk is starting to clear.

US carrier T-Mobile says it will unveil the first Google-branded cellphone next week.

T-Mobile’s “gPhone” handset will be made by HTC, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer that makes its own (relatively obscure) brand of handsets, plus house brands for carriers including Vodafone and Telecom New Zealand (Telecom’s first phone under its home-grown “OKTA” brand was made by HTC, though the company says other models in the series could be drawn from elsewhere).

In sign we live in interesting times, the first gPhone will be triple-badged, carrying Google, T-Mobile and HTC logos.

While details of the gPhone are still under wraps, pundits will be looking for how Android’s browser gels – or doesn’t – with Chrome; and whether its poised to take advantage of Google’s recent foray into buying large amounts of wi-fi spectrum – creating a possible future scenario for mobile VoIP calls that cut traditional cellphone service providers out of the picture altogether.

True to HTC’s rep for ungainly but feature-packed phones, the T-Mobile/Google/HTC handset is said to feature both a touchscreen with iPhone style features, and a full QWERTY keyboard styled after that featured on RIM’s BlackBerry Curve.

Other carriers from China Mobile to Sprint (Telecom’s US-based technology partner) say they are looking to develop phones based around Android.

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7 Comments & Questions

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The content and discription of one of the largest global makers of mobile phones as a "relatively obscure brand" brings into question the author's knowlege of the subject.

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It is a relatively obscure *brand* to consumers. Many consumers may very well have one of their phones, but not with any HTC branding.

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I agree HTC makes a lot of cellphones for a lot of carriers, including Telecom NZ and Vodafone as I note in my story. These are rebadged as the Telecom OKTA, the Titan, the Harrier and so fourth.
HTC has a growing presence for phones badged with its own initials, such as the co-badged model that's central to my story, but has minimal popular recognition compared to Nokia, Motorola or any other mainstream brand. Good luck to them boosting their profile from this point, but that's how things stand for now.

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HTC phones and some of the most beautiful in the market.
Check their website. Agree with previous posts, authors knowledge on this subject is very suspect.

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I would love to buy 1 of those other phones... which ones have:

Built-in wi-fi that runs faster than the iPhone's?
Which phone opens Word, Excel and PDF file attachments?
Weigh less than 5 ounces?
Which of them are thinner than iPhone at 0.5"?
Which can I install more than 3,000 different apps into?
Which can I write my own code for?
Which phone has more than 8-16 BILLION bytes of ram? (Without buying extra mem cards)
Which have a better/faster browser than Safari?
Which have 100 accessories that I can buy at stores all over the world?
Which phones cost less than the iPhone's $199?
Which have multi-touch screens bigger than 3.5"?
Which phone sells more than 1 million units... just in the 1st weekend?
Which phone has more than 3 GPS methods? (Cell, satellite, wi-fi.)
Which phone gives you high-speed, UNLIMITED data for under $30/month?
Which phone has more than 25,000 developers writing apps for it?
Which phone can I buy in more than 62 countries?
Which screens are sharper than 163 pixels/inch?
Which screens can display more than 16 million colors?
Which has a built-in battery that last 5-10 hours of continuous talk-time?
Which phones let me leave 5000 songs on my home computer, but still play them on my phone from anywhere in the world?
Which phone let's me listen to more than 1,000 free radio stations, even though it has no radio in it?
Which phone can play 10,000,000 movies/videos/TV shows, without storing any of them in the phone itself?

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I wonder whether the phone Tammy refers to allows you to forward SMS messages. Or perhaps MMS. These of course are available on any modern simple phone. Of course is the answer is email I wonder whether that phone can do more than 1 email at a time.

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looking at the pics of this phone it looks damn ugly and though i'm out of contract at the momment i wont be rushing out to get this phone.

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