Some say Google wants to make something similar to Apple's iPhone, aptly named the gPhone. But almost everyone wants to make something similar to the iPhone, and Google would be entering a crowded copycat business. While Apple jumped into the business with no experience, it already made hardware and needed to defend its music-player business as those functions moved to mobile phones.

Read part I, 'Google's gPhone: fact or fiction' - click here

For Google to make an impact in this crowded market, the company would need to design a product that sticks out from the crowd – as Apple is doing with its large, touchscreen display, according to Taylor. "It will be a challenge to come up with a really new design," he said.

Even worse, if Google makes its own handset it will become a competitor to companies such as Samsung, which are preloading Google software on their own phones. These companies have other choices for mobile search and Google would risk losing some partners. Another theory claims Google wants to make a low-cost device to increase internet usage around the world. But it is already part of one such group, the One Laptop Per Child Project. Besides, mobile-phone manufacturers are already slashing the cost of internet-ready phones with developing markets in mind.


Denying all

Google has said only that mobile applications are important to the company, declining any further comment. The head of its operations in Spain and Portugal, Isabel Aguilera, told a Spanish news site in March that Google has been exploring the idea of a phone and some of its engineers have spent time working on one. It's not exactly a smoking gun; Google is famous for encouraging its engineers to spend time on experimental projects, many of which never see the light of day.

Google even posted a job advertisement recently, saying it was "experimenting with a few wireless communications systems". But in the end the evidence is thin at best. Indeed, esteemed business titles such as the Wall Street Journal have reported that all the phone talk is misguided and that Google is really developing more sophisticated software for mobile phones.

Rather than competing with the iPhone, it has been suggested that Google's efforts to ramp up its mobile phone business are designed to complement Apple's handset. "We believe Google is working with, not against, Apple in the mobile world," said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a research note to clients. And that sounds a lot more like Google.

Who would you most trust to make your next mobile phone?

This story appears in the June 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents