Google Phones, WiMAX Phones at CES

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Google will host an Android press gathering at its global HQ on Jan. 5, reports the WSJ. Presumably, the event will have something to do with the company’s Nexus One, the Android phone that Google plans to sell on its own Web site and perhaps through T-Mobile as well.

It’s scheduling the event just before the official start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 7.

It is expected that Google will sell the HTC-made device directly to consumers through its Web site, while T-Mobile may have a more traditional contract offer with a 2 year contract providing voice and data.

Meanwhile, Sprint and LG will apparently announce a smartphone running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS at CES that can connect to WiMAX networks. Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, will be speaking at this event.

In addition to an LG WinMo phone, it looks like Sprint will be getting a LG Android phone, reports Boy Genius. But whether that phone will also work on Sprint’s WiMAX network is unknown.

The event will be “showcasing Sprint’s 4G leadership.” An LG phone running on Sprint’s WiMAX network will likely use 3G when outside of the 4G coverage area.

A WinMobile WiMAX phone could be soon joined with a raft of Google WiMAX phones, as well. Cable operators would like to use their WiMAX spectrum.

Google, it should be remembered, invested $500 million in the Sprint/Clear joint venture, while cable operator Comcast put up over $1B and Time Warner Cable invested some $500 million. Verizon and AT&T might have a hard time competing with cable’s faster mobile video and tablet services — or discounted VoIP service.

It wouldn’t be the first WiMAX phone. HTC and Russian carrier Scartel have been offering an integrated GSM/WiMAX handset — the HTC Max 4G – for over a year. Mobile WiMAX services on Russia’s Yota network turn the HTC MAX 4G into a personal entertainment system with access to music (Yota Music service), video (Yota Video) and television (Yota TV) available at a single touch.

Google would like customers choose their phone and then their carrier. Verizon and AT&T promised “open” phone architecture to the FCC before their 700 Mhz spectrum acquisition. If Google could offer Google Voice over the data channel (“3G” or “4G”), then mobile carriers might become “dumb” pipes and Google’s Mobile advertising business could thrive.

If cellular fees were based on data usage not minutes, however, they could drive more users to the Sprint/Google/Cable WiMAX system, which has more capacity for data-heavy video and multimedia and has less dependency on voice traffic.

The free Google Voice application includes automatic voicemail transcription, SMS support, conference calling, and low-cost international calling, and has more than 1.4 million users.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 at 11:45 am .

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