Looks like there won’t be a “Google phone” in China, not for a while at least. Well, an official phone; I’m pretty sure the gray market will take care of that. And yes, it has to do with the ongoing Google-China troubles.
The deal is that the phone, presumably the Nexus One, was supposed to launch on Wednesday. Google has postponed the launch because it says the applications on it won’t work as well as they’re designed to because of the restrictions China places on Google. Google it trying to get China to ease up on its restrictions, lest it pull out of the country altogether.
It should be noted that Google is nowhere near as big in China as it is here in the U.S. (Baidu is the top search engine in China, and by quite a distance.) Now, Google may look at that and say, “See, that means there’s plenty of room for growth in China!” Or perhaps more pessimistically, “We’re throwing money down a bottomless pit, let’s cut our losses and get out of here.”
Neither Google nor any unnamed source claiming to speak on Google’s behalf have said how long the postponement will last. It could be a temporary thing just to pressure the Chinese authorities into backing off (fat chance), or it could be a more long-term indication that Google is not a happy camper in China.
Again, as if the Chinese care that Google is upset. Google can’t storm into the harbor aboard gunships and demand policy changes, like the Europeans did back in the day.