Release of Google phone fast approaching

Mountain View (CA) - Google-powered cell phones are poised to hit the market by the middle of next year, though what the search giant really wants is a universal mobile platform, according to media reports.

Google is trying to shake up the mobile phone industry by breaking down some of the barriers that have continuously hampered innovation, reports the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, Google has already had talks with phone manufacturers including LG Electronics and Taiwan’s HTC Corp, and service providers including T-Mobile and France’s Orange.

Google wants to have phones that carry an array of its applications directly available out-of-the-box, like Google Maps, Gmail, and Youtube. It is on track to deliver such tools to phone makers to be available in their internal software package, reaching consumers by mid-2008. Google’s more ambitious plan, though, is to crack open mobile operating systems that are currently riddled with security and interoperability locks.

Google wants independent developers to be able to create mobile applications more cost effectively and with less hassle.

There’s a reason that phones have all those restrictions, though. Opening up that kind of platform could make it easier for hackers to get their hands on people’s cell phone numbers and other sensitive information.

However, Google says some carriers and manufacturers have taken this mindset too far. It has openly criticized the US market for the "locking" of phones, which require users to sign for a specific service provider for certain phones. In other countries, user data including contacts and the cell phone number, is stored on a SIM card, which can be easily transferred to virtually any other cell phone.

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