Analysts quash Google Gphone rumours

Industry observers have questioned both the probability of Google launching a mobile device and the evidence behind the rumours

Google is unlikely to launch a "Gphone" mobile device because it doesn't fit in with its business model, according to industry watchers.

The rumour mill went into overdrive after it was revealed Google had submitted a patent in the US for a mobile payment system — dubbed "Gpay".

But Vincent Poulbere, principal analyst at Ovum, warned against making assumptions about a direct link between the two. "I do not see a direct relationship between mobile payment and the Google phone. For me there is no link between Gphone and Gpay," he said.

Poulbere said the mobile-payment patent submission is more likely to be an extension of Google's online payment service, Google Checkout, than a mobile phone.

He added: "I think it's a tough move for Google to go into the device market."

Thomas Husson, analyst at JupiterResearch, agreed. "I don't think the two issues [Gpay and Gphone] are directly related," he said.

Husson said that, because Google is essentially an advertising company, the extent to which a mobile phone would fit into its business model is questionable. "[Google's] interest today is to have its applications embedded on as many phones as possible. Google is really a platform company," he said.

But Husson suggested "it wouldn't be much of a surprise" if a Google phone emerged, particularly as the company has expressed interest in acquiring radio spectrum in the US that could be used for a mobile network.

In a statement regarding the "Gpay" mobile-payment patent, Google said: "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications."

Google declined to comment on the speculation around the Gphone.


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