Google has developed a prototype cell phone and plans to offer consumers free subscriptions by bundling advertisements with its search engine, e-mail and Web browser software applications, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Google is showing the prototype to cell phone manufacturers and network operators and plans to offer a better mobile Web browsing experience than current products, the story said.
Google has not officialy confirmed any plans to offer a mobile phone, but the company has been working with partners to expand its software applications from the traditional Internet to mobile devices.
Negotiating the fairest way to split those advertising revenues with service providers could be a big hurdle for Google, one analyst said. Another problem is the potential that consumers could be scared off by the prospect of listening to advertisements before being able to make phone calls, said Jeff Kagan, a wireless and telecommunications industry analyst in Atlanta.
Industry watchers have long heard rumors that Google was designing its own mobile phone. Google added fuel to that speculation in July when it announced it was willing to spend $4.6 billion to buy wireless spectrum in a U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction.