Vodafone to Launch Google Phone?

Reports this morning say that Vodafone is close to finalising a deal with mobile phone manufacturer HTC of Taiwan for the next version of the so-called Google phone.

Vodafone and HTC are understood to be in discussions about the next generation of a device based on Google’s Android operating system – dubbed the G2.

Both Vodafone and HTC hope to have a deal signed in time for an announcement at Mobile World Congress, the mobile phone industry’s annual tradeshow in Barcelona which opened on today.

HTC also manufactured the first Gphone, the G1, which rival T-Mobile launched last autumn under an exclusive deal. While that device has done well in the US, recent numbers from T-Mobile in the UK suggest it has struggled to compete with Apple’s iPhone, available exclusively on O2. As T-Mobile don’t operate in Ireland, the original Gphone was not available here. A tie-up with Vodafone would most likely result in the phone becoming available on the Irish market also.

A Race for supremacy in mobile apps.

Google’s entry into the mobile cellular phone market follows the success of Apple’s iPhone. Google is hoping that its operating system will help persuade more mobile phone users to access the internet on their devices and become the platform of choice for developers of mobile phone applications.

While Apple’s iTunes currently dominates the so-called mobile “apps” space, Android already has about 800 applications available even though there is only one device in the market. It hopes that its share of the market will increase as more mobile device manufacturers release products.