Actually, the term should be "Gphones." The manufacturers will probably be South Korea's LG Electronics and Taiwan's HTC Corp., and the first U.S. carrier will likely be Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT)'s also-ran, T-Mobile.
The new handset will have standard Google Gmail, Maps, search features, and YouTube. Its applications and operating systems will be "open" so other developers can build new features for the phones.
But who cares? Will the phone sell because it is based on Google technology? Branding worked for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s iPhone, but it rode the popularity of another device, the iPod. Google is up against plenty of other multimedia phones with maps, e-mail, video features and GPS.
The fact that the applications allow outside developers to add features to the phone only works if the features are different from those already available on competing systems. That may be hard to do. The cellphone software industry already has a robust set of applications.
Google is hoping that an open architecture will draw both developers and customers. The developers may come, but the new phone will have to be much different than other products in the market to get any reasonable number of sales.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com.