Their plans centre on a branded Google phone, which would probably also carry Orange's logo. The device would not be revolutionary: manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. But it would have built-in Google software which would dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the web from a mobile handset.
A source close to the talks told The Observer: 'Google are software experts and are doing some amazing work compressing data so that the mobile user gets a much better experience. They don't know so much about mobiles, but they are eager to learn from Orange's years of experience.'