Thursday, January 14, 2010

What exactly does the 'Nexus One' mean?

Google the search-engine giant released the 'Nexus One' as a 'Google Phone', although the device it self was manufactured by one of Google's compadres, HTC. Sporting the latest and greatest Android OS version 2.1, the sales in the first weeks of Nexus' life have been slow.

So what is the meaning of the Nexus One overall? Answering a question like this accurately so early on in the life of the device would be like having the answer to the question of the meaning of life. In this entry I will share my thoughts on the 'Nexus' and attempt to envision the phone's significance today and in the long run.

Here in the now

Even before its launch the 'Nexus' gathered noticeable attention, as the phone leaked out months before its release, catching the attention of mobile hardware bloggers around the world. It turned out that Google had given prototypes(?) of the device to its employees and what resulted was this quite natural flow of grainy, low-quality images to the world wide web for everyone to wonder and drool over.

To me this stunt of giving the phone out to employers was a hype-creating gimmick. In other words Google wanted for those images to leak out. There's nothing more exciting to a tech enthusiast than the promise of new and best of all unreleased tech to get him claiming 'first!'ies everywhere he went. This strategy from Google ensured that by the time 'Nexus' was finally released, everybody who wanted to be anybody in the mobile enthusiast world knew exactly what the 'Nexus One' was.

The device doesn't amaze with it's technological specs, as it hasn't entered the race of dumping the fastest technology on board nor has it entered the race in display size, where the other HTC devide, the HD2 is currently the winner. LG has larger displays than what's on the HD2, but since their success hasn't been anywhere near the success of the HD2, I won't mention them here (d'oh! Too late). Therefore the hardware isn't 'that something' of this device.

On the other hand, neither is the software something to go crazy over. Even though the device sports the latest Android to date (2.1), the new version of the OS doesn't bring much that is new to the table. There's a touch of Swype technology on it, the cool but US-only Google Navigation and of course the general open-endedness that is Android, but nothing whe haven't seen on other devices already. The device to notoriously introduce Google Navigation DROID was the Motorola that still succeeds in selling well and being generally a certain kind of trendsetter in most circles. So there's really nothing here to simply blow anyone away, at least not a tech enthusiast.

In the future there will be robots

So then, what is the significance of 'Nexus' when thinking of things to come? Well, obviously the 'Nexus' is currently suffering from customer reported 3G problems and Google isn't doing a very good job of running their customer service department. This whole 3G issue could scare most people away from buying the device, as bad news always spreads like wildfire. In addition, for me the lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard and somewhat plain appearance will reduce sales in my opinion.

So the 'Nexus One' won't be a great seller for Google. It doesn't mark a total failure for the megacorporation either. I believe, that the 'Nexus' has been to a big extent more a test trial for Google on releasing a phone. They tried out generating hype with the "leaking pictures" trick and obviously they didn't want to jam pack the device full of the latest technology to make it a wet dream for all the tech geeks interested in this industry. Although its always the majority market you need to win over to make any product successful, the plain and unimaginatyive Android user interface and the appearance of the physical device doesn't seem like they would attract the masses.

All this leads me to believe, that we are yet to see the real 'Google phone', as the 'Nexus' was in all honesty a rather half-assed effort to release a game changing phone, which it certainly isn't. Also, I think that even the greatest plan for this "real" Google phone might fail or be compromised, because of Google having such big friends in the industry, by having made deals with just about every manufactirer besides Nokia to put Android on their devices.

Does Google really want to get into a situation where it in essence competes with its associates?

(C) Christopher Peake 2010

Written entirely on the N900 and MaStory blogging client!

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