Here is why I think Google’s Strategy In Japan: Avoid Yahoo And Take Over The Mobile Web First will fail.
You can see from the Engadget pages about Softbank pages where they show a close up from the mobile phones where the key is located. Softbank being an investor in Yahoo! Japan has a huge leverage and I don’t think that being inside the operator/carrier menu will bring market share to Google.
Being a physical key in your phone is an advantage that can’t be dismissed because not everyone knows how to access every function of their mobile phone.
With the news that Google is releasing a phone getting closer to a launch, I still believe that the GPhone still not impressive enough to change the mobile landscape.
But it does create a working mobile phone with the specifications that Google think is important in mobile phones.