December 22, 2014

Google Phone Gallery Launches, "with Google" Confusion Continues

Google.com/phone, formerly Google’s storefront for the Nexus One, has been relaunched as the Google Phone Gallery, letting users compare Android phones available in 14 countries from a variety of manufacturer and carriers.

Note that it is not a comprehensive list of Android devices. Rather, it seems to be a selection of phones that Google has decided to highlight.

While the stated intent of the gallery is to be a tool to help consumers compare and make decisions, Google is using the strength of its imprimatur to endorse certain phones and not others. That certain phones are not included in the gallery is a way of expressing disapproval with, for example, Verizon’s Fascinate (which leaves off Google Search for Bing) without being directly punitive.

Also of interest is that the “with Google” logo is prominently displayed by some of the devices in the Gallery, and that the list can be filtered to only show phones “with Google.” The site explains that “‘with Google’ phones have been optimized for use of Google mobile services, providing easy access to Search, Voice Search, Google Talk, Google Maps, Gmail, Sync, YouTube and Android Market (where available).”

This is the clearest (only?) explanation of what “with Google” means that I recall, but matters become confusing again when you consider a couple of issues:

  • The explanation is not substantively different from Google’s description of all phones in the gallery, which “include Android Market, Google Search, and other Google Mobile services such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube.”
  • The gallery itself makes it easy to see phones with the “with Google” label next to those without it, and there’s no rhyme or reason to which phones get the designation. The EVO 4G, Droid Eris and Droid Incredible, all with HTC Sense, get the “with Google” label, but the HTC Desire, another Sense phone, does not; Motorola’s Droid X and Droid 2, with their “light” Blur skins and locked down bootloaders, get the “with Google” label, but Samsung’s Vibrant, Epic 4G and Captivate do not. And all of those phones have the requisite Google apps mentioned in the explanation.

It will be interesting to see how the Gallery evolves. I’m glad to see Google begin to give a quasi-certification to phones that meet certain standards, but hope that the question of what “with Google” means will be made more clear.



  • http://www.ukfree.tv Briantist

    Rather amazingly, if you do the “compare” on the Motorola Milestone and Motorola Droid (the same phone in different markets), there are some interesting comparisons.

    Not just different resolutions, but one apparently has no keyboard.

  • Sam Herren

    Agreed Chuck. Google is making this more and more confusing and this is w/o the big push for the upcoming Android tablets like the Tab and Archos ones. The Tab has the Market and Google apps but I don’t recall it having the “with Google” blessing while the Archos languish in no man’s land and w/o Google support.

  • rmorton

    “The EVO 4G, Droid Eris and Droid Incredible, all with HTC Sense, get the “with Google” label, but the HTC Desire, another Sense phone, does not.”

    This is what I dont understand the specs for the HTC Desire shown on the site are for the European GSM version. I have the HTC Desire through US Cellular, and the specs are somewhat different, ie. no FM radio, and CDMA. Also the US Cellular version of the Desire has the “with google” branding, but yet google does not have it listed in their with google line.

  • http://www.nightshadelabs.com David Shellabarger

    Google: get it together.

  • http://www.nightshadelabs.com David Shellabarger

    In the comparison page. Infrared is listed.
    Are there any Android phones with Infrared yet?

    • http://www.chuckfalzone.com Chuck Falzone

      The international Galaxy S does, apparently. Did not know that, just going on what the specs in Google’s gallery say.

      Not sure if there are others.

  • http://miff.furopolis.org/ Miff

    Doesn’t “with Google” mean that it’ll keep getting Android updates as long as the hardware supports it?

    • http://www.nightshadelabs.com David Shellabarger

      No. MyTouch 3G is “with Google” and still on 1.6