The Googlephone. It’s a concept that sometimes sounds an exciting taste of the future, and sometimes sounds like it’s already fizzled. And today, it’s back to being exciting: Google has announced that there will be a Sprint 4G version of its fine Nexus S phone–and that it will give consumers all the goodness of Google voice without making them switch their phone numbers. That’ll make it the first true native Google Voice phone.
The news would be noteworthy whenever it came down, but the timing is fascinating. It came down hours after AT&T agreed to acquire T-Mobile–there latter being the carrier that partnered with Google for the Nexus One and original Nexus S, and the only national carrier other than Sprint that counts as a scrappy underdog. Sprint needs good news; Google needs a wireless partner that isn’t T-Mobile and that doesn’t insist on acting like an 800-pound gorilla. Short of Google buying a phone carrier, there are all kinds of interesting things it could do with Sprint if the two companies agreed to let Google take the sort of dominant role that Apple took with the iPhone but which otherwise just doesn’t happen.