Speculation is mounting that Google is plotting the launch of a mobile phone in partnership with computer giant Dell.
Senior industry sources claim the two companies will reveal their plans at next month’s 3GSM telecoms conference in Barcelona, al-though Google insiders deny an announcement is due in the near future.
But the rumours will once again throw the spotlight on Google’s mobile strategy, which has been the subject of much conjecture over the last year.
There had been widespread talk of Google launching its own handset, known as the “Gphone”, to go up against Apple’s iPhone, which launched in November last year.
But the world’s largest search engine surprised the industry by announcing an operating system for mobile phones called Android. The software makes it easier for developers to create mobile applications that run on many different handsets.
Android, which will be available this year, will bring all of Google’s online services to mobile users.
At present, mobile phones use a variety of operating systems to access the internet, including systems from Microsoft and London-based Symbian.
Marketing Week revealed last year that Dell was also planning a move into mobile phones after poaching Motorola executive Ron Garriques to run its new global consumer group (MW March 1, 2007).
Dell already produces personal digital assistants (PDAs) and strategy analytics director Neil Mawston says: “It makes sense for Dell to have a high-profile entry back into the market because its last effort with PDAs pretty much flopped.”