Could Vodafone be next in line with a Google phone?

23 Sep 2008

As T-Mobile goes live today with the first iteration of the Google Android phone made by HTC, other operators like Vodafone are mulling over the next device family.

Asked last week if Vodafone would be considering launching with its own version of the HTC Dream, Vodafone Ireland’s chief executive, Charles Butterworth said: “The answer is yes, over time. I’m sure we will, but without getting into the specifics of which market and how.”

Butterworth said Apple’s iconic iPhone kick-started a whole new wave of innovation that transformed the focus of mobile phones from hardware-centric devices to software-centric devices centred much more on the user experience.

“That development is only going to open the market up to a whole host of new players who wouldn’t have been traditional mobile phone-makers, who will dive in and drive the game forward.

“Whether it’s touchscreen phones or the ability to create open platforms where developers can sell applications, the end result for the mobile market is a much more active and rich experience.

“It will drive a whole new generation of handsets over and above the iPhone and the HTC Dream.

“Google Android will see a new generation of vertical players like Google, Apple and Microsoft with operating systems and software marketplaces. Until now, it was a Nokia phone or a Sony Ericsson with a certain operating system. Now, there will be a series of new verticals.

“Apple, Nokia, Google and Microsoft are coming at it from different perspectives. And don’t forget Vodafone – we’re in the handset business ourselves you know with our own branded handsets, which are selling well in the marketplace and around Europe. We have a clear goal of being a major player integrating with what’s going on.

“You’re going to see a lot of developments in the next six months. I think there are many more developments to come,” Butterworth said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: some of the security features and workflow of Google’s Android

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years