By Brian Womack
(Bloomberg) — Google Inc. (GOOG), seeking to wrest consumers from Apple Inc. (AAPL), and Research In Motion Inc., is poised to unveil a mobile phone that uses its Android software at a press event today, analysts said.
The Nexus One phone probably will be sold directly by the company as well as through a wireless carrier, said Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company said last month that it was testing an Android phone internally.
Google, owner of the most-popular Internet search engine, is boosting investments in the mobile-phone market as demand increases for devices such as Apple's iPhone that can surf the Web, take pictures and play music. Google's Android software was first offered in 2008 on phones made by Taiwan's HTC Corp. The new device may feature more of Google's own software, acting as the standard for other makers to follow.
"I'm expecting a phone that is branded Google," Golvin said. "One of the main reasons for Google to do this is because they think they can innovate faster than their partners."
Google, based in Mountain View, California, was in talks to sell the handset through wireless carrier T-Mobile USA Inc., a person familiar with the discussions said last month. Today's event, described by Google as an "Android Press Gathering," starts at 1 p.m. New York time.
Katie Watson, a spokeswoman for Google, declined to comment on the event.
Engadget, a technology news and review Web site, reported this week that the new phone, built by HTC, has a 3.7-inch (9.4- centimeter) screen, a 5-megapixel camera and uses Qualcomm Inc.()'s Snapdragon processor. The review blog said the phone is "handsome" though not necessarily an iPhone "eviscerator."
"It looks to be, from what I can see, a very nicely designed phone, very competitive with the iPhone," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, who also said today's event is likely to feature an Android phone.
Google's Nexus One has a touch screen like the iPhone, and users can search the Web on it by speaking query terms.
Creating its own handset reflects Google's effort to expand advertising sales on mobile devices, a market that may grow to between $2 billion and $3 billion in the U.S. by 2013, up from less than $1 billion now, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. In November, Google announced plans to pay $750 million for AdMob Inc., a mobile-phone advertising startup backed by Google investor Sequoia Capital.
Google rose $6.77 to $626.75 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares more than doubled last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at Bwomack1@bloomberg.net.