UK release soon
Google has taken the covers off its new smartphone – or superphone, as the firm is calling it – with the launch of the Nexus One handset.
As predicted, the device will run on the Android 2.1 operating system and will feature a 3.7in OLED screen and is powered by a Snapdragon processor. The phone is just over 11mm thick, less than the weight of a Swiss Army Knife, according to Google.
Other features include noise-cancelling technology that can fade out background noise when making a call, voice recognition for writing emails, text messages or for controlling the phone and high-speed Internet browsing.
Launching the Nexus One at Google’s Mountain View, California HQ, Mario Queiroz, VP of product management for Google, said: “The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call ‘superphones’. It’s the first in what we expect to be a series of products which we will bring to market with our operator and hardware partners and sell through our online store.”
Initial analyst reaction to the launch suggested that the big leap forward with the release of the Nexus One is not any of the phone’s features but rather the fact that Google is now selling hardware direct to consumers via an online store.
“Through a series of simple interactive animations, Google’s storefront gives you a real 3D feel for a gadget rendered in 2D on the computer screen,” said Nicholas Carson on the Business Insider blog. “Don’t scoff at how important it is that Google nailed that trick. Since the Nexus One won’t be sold in stores, that you-can-almost-feel-it sensation is incredibly important for the gadget’s success.”
Gartner analyst Nick Jones agreed: “What’s more interesting is that Google is getting into the handset distribution business. They’re creating an online Google phone store. And maybe Google won’t stop at phones, perhaps we’ll see Chrome OS netbooks and Google voice services on the shelves in the future as well.”
Declaring the Nexus One to be the, “Best Android phone yet”, Om Malik, writing on his GigaOm blog, said: “From a purely design standpoint, the Nexus One is within striking distance of its primary rival, the iPhone. While it isn’t as iconic as the Apple device, it is a well-designed, feature-rich product that stands apart in a sea of Android handsets.”
While connectivity and synchronisation are excellent on the phone, “One needs to make more of an effort on the Google Phone to get things done. I guess you can blame that on the lack of multitouch features,” Malik said, adding that the open source nature of the platform means that third-party apps do not integrate as well as Google’s apps.
The prices are also similar to expectations – $529 for an unlocked device or $179 on a two year contract with T-Mobile in the US. Vodafone will begin selling the Nexus One in the UK within the next few weeks, Google confirmed. In addition, customers in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong are able to buy an unlocked device for shipping from the US.