As if it couldn't get any more interesting with a Google Phone, there's an updated report suggesting that the Google Phone may be a data only, VoIP device that does away with your usual voice plan and minutes. Take a step back and imagine that. If the Google Phone was to step away from the carrier stranglehold of minutes and simply route calls through Google Voice and use the recently acquired Gizmo5 as the onboard VoIP service, it truly would be the Google Phone. Your phone, no carrier influence, all delivered through data. It could work.
It's unclear how supportive the carriers would be of a data-only Google Phone considering it directly affects their primary business. In fact, the precedent of accepting a data-only Google Phone could make way for gigantic changes to the way the carriers do business. And we know how much the carriers love change. But AT&T has given Windows Mobile and Blackberry users data-only plans for quite some time (no data only option for iPhone), so it's not an impossible stretch.
The problem is of course, how the average consumer will see the move and if they'll buy into it. For us at Android Central the answer is simple, if Google does deliver a Google Phone, we're in for the ride. If it's data only and uses VoIP for calls, even better (we've been itching for data only devices anyway). But would it be too complicated for the average consumer? Could they get around the idea of leaving carriers behind and using VoIP for phone calls? Would it still be subsidized? Is this kind of Google Phone targeted to only the tech-savvy?
Also, if Google does release this data-only, VoIP Google Phone, it kind of, sort of sidesteps direct competition with its current Android-making partners. We're sure they'll still be unhappy about Google's power move but it's certainly a better scenario than Google releasing a 'true phone'.
In any case, there's a ton of questions regarding the potential of the Google Phone that can't be fully answered until Google officially announces the thing. But the data-only, VoIP version might be the scenario we love the most considering the novelty of it and the sweeping changes it might start in the industry.
What do you guys think?