Bharti Airtel is set to emerge an early partner for Google Inc's mobile initiative dubbed Google Phone (Gphone), under which the Internet search giant is expected to announce in the next few days an operating system that will power handsets.
Potentially, this opens up for consumers the possibility of using a cheap alternative with flexibility that will enable multiple software applications for connectivity and content on mobile phones, rivaling services like Blackberry with ease.
Google is expected to unveil its Mobile OS platform based on the open-source Linux technology sometime later this month and its handset partners include Samsung and Motorola. Finnish giant Nokia is significantly not a partner in the game.
In the competitive business, the focus is shifting to applications and content accessed from a handset, and players like Google and independent software developers will play an increasingly significant role in luring customers. Partnerships between telephone service firms and software firms will become critical.
"The operators who are likely to be part of the big announcement will be T-Mobile's USA division and Bharti Airtel, one of India's largest cellular carriers," Silicon Valley Website GigaOM.com said.
A Bharti Airtel source signalled the partnership was likely, without directly confirming it. Bharti already has a strategic partnership with Google on mobile search.