This week, Google unveiled its long-anticipated strategy for bringing its Internet search capabilities and other web-based applications to cell phone users worldwide with the establishment of an international industry alliance that will develop an open software platform for wireless handsets. The group, known as the Open Handset Alliance, boasts 33 members, including handset manufacturers Motorola, Samsung, and LG Electronics, chipmakers Intel, Broadcom and Qualcomm, and many of the world’s leading service providers, such as Sprint Nextel of the U.S., Germany’s T-Mobile, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI of Japan, China Mobile and Telecom Italia. Although Google has no plan at this time to develop its own branded cell phone to compete against Apple’s iPhone, the partners will develop handsets to run on Google software, which will be provided under an open license to manufacturers and service providers and will enable mobile phone subscribers to perform many of the webbased functions that are accessible on PCs. According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, software developers involved in the alliance will also “build applications that do amazing things on the Internet and on mobile phones as well.” Google, which hopes to build new revenue streams by enabling web users to access its ad-supported services on mobile devices, emerged as a strong supporter of open platform rules that were adopted by the FCC for the 700 MHz C-block. Observers say that the alliance, if successful, could make it easier and less expensive for handset makers and wireless customers to customize phones that would operate on the nationwide 700 MHz C-block network and on other open platform networks of the future. Welcoming the news, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said, “I continue to believe that more openness—at the network, device or application level—helps foster innovation and enhances consumers’ freedom and choice in purchasing wireless service.” Alliance members hope to market the first Google-powered phones by the second half of 2008.