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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- I believe it's very likely that
Google will launch its own smartphone, probably in the first half of 2012, that's not based on Android.
What is this smartphone NOT? You're all aware of the Nexus One (launched in January 2010) and the Nexus S (launched in December 2010) smartphones, running the then-latest versions of the Android operating systems. These were developer-centric phones, simply lacking the heavy software customizations to Android usually practiced by
Motorola(MMI - Get Report) and others.
However, from a hardware perspective, both Nexus devices were designed largely by their makers -- HTC and Samsung, respectively. The 2012 Google smartphone I am talking about is very different in at least two aspects:
1. Most importantly, this Google smartphone will not be based on Android. Rather, it would be based on a smartphone-optimized version of Chrome OS. There are several reasons for this.
A. Security -- Many current operating systems, including Android and Windows 7, just for starters, have severe security issues. The main reason for this is a combination of two things: First, Android is a very open ecosystem in which applications can enter the device from a variety of angles, including those not vetted sufficiently or at all by a company such as Google itself. Second, the very nature of an operating system which allows applications to be installed is a security risk in and of itself, particularly if the device is not actively managed by a heavy-handed central police such as the famous BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) from
Research In Motion(RIMM).
A cloud-centric OS such as Chrome breaks this paradigm by not allowing locally installed apps in the traditional sense. This device would only have two major software parts -- the OS and the only allowed browser. However, the OS treats the browser as a de-facto hostile application, not allowing it to modify the OS including locally install any applications.
This type of security paradigm would make RIM's BES mostly obsolete. There would be no traditional need to monitor and restrict the end user device using such comprehensive and active tools. The BES could be replaced by a much simpler management console which would focus more on device access, activity in the browser, and overall account device management only. Google could easily design such a product, causing a lot of headache for RIM.