Google pens partnerships for G-phone

Google is set to take the wrapping off its mobile phone offering this week, introducing a mobile operating system and a broad alliance with multiple wireless service providers and handset vendors.

Google pens partnerships for G-phone

Sources say the Google mobile operating system will be based on open-source Linux code, which will support applications from different software developers in addition to Google’s own services, including e-mail and mapping. The phones are expected to come on the market around the middle of 2008, according to one source who was briefed on the plans.

“What Google is trying to do is win the war for a much larger audience, that being the mobile device,” says the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Google has been frustrated with their efforts to date to go in and do what they want (in mobile),” the source adds. “Now they’re taking a different tactic, saying: ‘Why don’t we create a broader working group where we’re the anchor?'”

The source reports Google has more than 25 members signed up, including Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, Motorola and Samsung. Noticeably absent, however, is handset market Nokia, which owns 47.9% of British software company Symbian, a developer of operating systems for smartphones.

Google, which dominates web search on desktop computers, has long said internet use on mobile phones would be key to its growth, but it has not yet been able to crack the market.

Another person familiar with the matter said Google has to take a new approach and work with multiple partners if it wants its mobile offerings to work well on a large number of phones.

“Google doesn’t necessarily want to be your phone … but they would certainly like to extend their business model to your phone,” another source says.

All the companies involved declined to comment.

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