DoCoMo is gearing up for launch of the Google phone in 2009 according to company officials. The Nikkei said Wednesday South Korea’s KT Freetel is also involved in the DoCoMo-Google project but the official said nothing had been decided on potential partners. DoCoMo has a 10 percent stake in KT Freetel. The daily also said the new Google phone would come with a keyboard and a touch-panel display and be some 20 percent cheaper than currently available cellphones.
“As we are allied with Google, we are considering a commercial mobile device together,” a DoCoMo official told AFP. The open-source Android software and ability of outside developers to write applications for the device is seen as a major selling point by Google and its partners.
While the open-source side of the equation can be somewhat attractive, it also presents a very real challenge to an operator like DoCoMo when it comes to making sure that openess does not threaten security – think GPS and data privacy – of it’s valued customer base. Our bet is this is a delicate matter which they have been struggling with and the final output will most likely have some added checks and balances built-in.