Inside The GPhone: What To Expect From Google's Android Alliance - InformationWeek
01:50 PM
Connect Directly

Inside The GPhone: What To Expect From Google's Android Alliance

If you think the Google Phone is all talk, you're wrong: Here are eight technologies--GPS, multimedia, mobile Web browsing, gaming graphics, and more--which Open Handset Alliance members will bring to the upcoming mobile handset.

Call It The 'GPS' GPhone

(click image for larger view)

SiRF Technology brings GPS to theGPhone.

view the image gallery

Global-positioning system (GPS) technology might be on the cusp for most of America's cellphone users -- Verizon has begun aggressively marketing its availability as an option -- but I'm betting it'll be de rigueur on the GPhone. That's where SiRF Technology Inc. comes in. The Android partner, based in San Jose, Calif., bills itself as a specialist in folding "location-awareness" features into mobile devices.

For our predictive GPhone assessment, the salient fact to note is that SiRF isn't a garden-variety GPS service or software provider. It's heavier duty than that: SiRF offers chips which enable GPS to be hard-wired into the handset. The integrated circuits are also small enough that they won't disturb the svelte profile of the GPhone's case. The SiRFstarIII GSD3t chip measures a scant 3.12-mm by 3.17-mm, at a height of 0.68 mm.

SiRF stresses that its SiRFstar III and SiRF Instant architectures are "power misers." However, adding a standalone integrated circuit into the GPhone to support GPS will clearly stress the already tight power-budget with which its engineers are grappling.

Accordingly, it's probably fair to expect little or no daylight between the GPhone's battery life and that of Apple's iPhone.

Really Lightweight Web Browser

(click image for larger view)

Opera Mini 4 is a fast, lightweight browser.

view the image gallery

Given that U.S. cellphone networks remain too poky for desktop-like Web speeds, the GPhone will be fitted with a browser which loads without the usual, lengthy mobile lag.

This argues for a really lightweight client. That's where Opera comes in, and also where an analysis of the Open Handset Alliance membership roles as a GPhone predictor hits its first stumbling block.

The mobile Opera Mini 4 browser has just been released, to rave reviews. This seems to be just the ticket the GPhone could use as its killer app, since Opera Mini 4 is optimized for quicker scrolling, navigation, and page rendering on mobile handsets.

However, Opera is not an Open Handset Alliance member. Still, that's not necessarily an impediment to the GPhone's adoption of the browser. Consider than an Opera spokesperson coyly refused to tell ZDNet whether the company has been approached to join the Alliance, and added that Opera is "very close to Google."

2 of 5
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll