Cell phones could become free, says Google CEO

Google's business model of offering ad-supported services free of charge could trickle down to cell phones in the future, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In an interview with Reuters on Saturday, Schmidt stated that as cell phones become more sophisticated and people spend "as much as eight to 10 hours a day" using them to surf the web and communicate, advertising could allow companies to offer phones entirely free of charge. Schmidt said, "Your mobile phone should be free. It just makes sense that subsidies should increase [as advertising rises on mobile phones.]"

As nice as the idea may sound to some, Schmidt went on to say that Google currently has no plans to give phones away directly, and that he does not know of any cell phone manufacturer or operator that does. Schmidt also backtracked somewhat, suggesting that cell phones might follow a path similar to that of newspapers, which he says are still not "completely" free even after relying on advertising for a hundred years.

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