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Google Postpones Phone for China

In light of the . . . “difficulties” Google is anticipating in China, they’ve decided to postpone the launch of their planned Nexus One phone in China. The launch was supposed to be tomorrow. (Wait, today? Wednesday. Whatever day that is in China. Stupid international date line.)

China has the world’s most populous mobile Internet market, with 700 million subscribers (nearly twice the size of their landline subscriptions). It’s little wonder Google was interested in this market—but will their difficulties with the government over search keep them out?

Google acknowledged that they might be forced to shutter and their search services in the country. The government maintains that Google must obey the censorship laws. However, there was still a possibility that they might be allowed to maintain other services, such as Google Voice, Gmail or Maps.

Although lagging behind Baidu in search, Google has fared well on the mobile Internet in China, and the phone could have been a way for them to extend their mobile (and possibly total) marketshare. Perhaps it’s not worth it to them if the phone isn’t going to be supporting their larger cash cow, search.

And perhaps they think the Chinese government won’t allow any Google services in the country.

What do you think? Will Google be allowed to run other services if its search business is shuttered? Will China get the Nexus?