Google and Orange Readying GPhone?

As much of the tech world prepares for a mysterious iPhone announcement, speculation has started to swirl regarding a possible Google phone built by HTC with service provided by Orange. According to a report released today by The Observer, Orange executives recently made a trip to the Googleplex to start hammering out details of the jointly branded device.

Their plans centre on a branded Google phone, which would probably also carry Orange’s logo. The device would not be revolutionary: manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. But it would have built-in Google software which would dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the web from a mobile handset.

So essentially, if the report rings true, the pair are planning a relatively vanilla handset. I think, however, that holds some significance. While us tech nerds love devices that have gobs of features, regular consumers want simple, usable functionality—not oppressively complicated technology. It’s a model that has benefited Google immensely in its eight years of existence, and I don’t see why mobile technologies should be any different.

The article sets a 2008 time frame device’s release, so there is still quite a bit of time for the product to develop and information to change. That is, of course, if there is any salt to it at all.

The future for Orange could soon be Google in your pocket [Observer]