Google enlists help for Google Phone story by By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY from this /. article ---- NEW YORK — Google (GOOG) today plans to announce the formation of an "open phone" coalition, with the goal of developing an operating system for the so-called Google Phone. The new operating system, geared specifically for cellphones, will be used to showcase and promote Google's ever-growing panoply of services, much like Microsoft has done for decades with its Windows operating system. Google's coalition partners, as of Sunday, included Sprint (S), Motorola (MOT), Samsung and Japanese wireless giant NTT DoCoMo, according to people familiar with Google's plans. They declined to be identified because they weren't authorized by Google to speak publicly. Google did not respond to e-mails seeking comment. The new G-system will be based on Linux, a 15-year-old computer operating system that is available free over the Internet. Google's version will be overlaid with Java, a popular computer language. rest of story under spoiler tags Spoiler The finished product, expected within months, will unabashedly favor Google applications and services. "What's being developed is unlikely to be easily transportable to Yahoo (YHOO) and other (service) providers," says Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation, a non-profit group that supports the adoption of "Linux-based" operating systems in the mobile industry. Gillis says Google hopes to have a branded device ready for worldwide shipment by the spring. LiMo isn't a member of the coalition, but a number of its members are participating. Consumers are potentially the biggest beneficiaries. Currently, many cellphone carriers limit the services and applications that their customers can use. Mobile Web browsing is also notoriously slow. This mobile prison is so well known it has a name: "the walled garden." The Google Phone, powered by the new G-system, could blow open this model by providing easy access to the Internet at PC-type speeds. One caveat: You'll have to use Google for navigation. Still, Gillis says the Google Phone could push cellphone carriers to improve their game considerably. "This is likely to accelerate the demise of the walled garden, and consumers everywhere will be the big winners." Gillis says Google plans to basically give away the software developer "tools," used by programmers to write new applications. "If you're a developer, you'll be able to develop (applications) for the new Google Phone very quickly." Google's motivation is survival. The tech giant now rules the world of desktop-based Internet searches, but it doesn't have a clear advantage in the wireless universe. As consumers continue to flock to wireless devices, performing Internet searches on the run, Google wants to follow them. Noticeably absent from the Google coalition: AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ). Both carriers are talking to Google about the possibility of allowing its applications to be included on devices, but they remain cool to the notion of supporting any device that favors Google over other providers. AT&T and Verizon are also concerned about Google's plans to use wireless devices as mobile billboards for a crush of advertisements. Sprint, the No. 3 carrier, is supporting the coalition, but it hasn't formally agreed to make the Google Phone available to its 54 million subscribers.