GPhone a Linux-based Mobile OS?

While rumors of a mobile device in the works by Google pop up every few weeks, those speculators may be off the mark. In a New York Times article today, "For Google, Advertising and Phones Go Together," sources have allegedly confirmed what others have guessed: that GPhone is a mobile operating system, rather than a device.

The OS will be based on Linux, and free to hardware providers, since it's supported by Google ads. It will also include rich mobile versions of its applications, including mobile search and maps. According to the article, "Google is expected to unveil the fruit of its mobile efforts later this year, and phones based on its technology could be available next year."

They're not likely to be welcomed with open arms by the carriers, who've spent millions to develop their own content to keep subscribers on their own mobile properties. Many are also using a white-label version of a mobile ad platform from startups like JumpTap and Medio Systems. It will also face competition from Microsoft, whose Windows Mobile OS is distributed by 48 handset makers and 160 carriers around the world.