Five Predictions for Google's Nexus One
There has been a frenzy of rumors circulating about Google's foray into the mobile handset market since it was first discovered that Google might be working on such a device. Based on the prevailing rumors and speculation, here are five predictions for what we can expect from the Nexus One.
1.It will be Google's 'iPhone'. Apple has built its reputation on providing a superior user experience. In order to do so, Apple controls virtually every aspect of its products from concept, to research and development, to software and hardware, and even to marketing and distribution.
By doing so, Apple can ensure that various elements work seamlessly together to maximize the potential of the product and optimize the user experience. There are a variety of handsets available already that are built on Google's Android mobile operating system, but the Nexus One is Google's chance to manage the bigger picture and provide a mobile device capable of meeting the potential of Android.
2.It won't be an iPhone. It might be Google's equivalent of an iPhone--conceptually speaking, but it won't be an iPhone, or iPhone killer as we in the media so love to call each new innovative device that comes out.
According to the alleged specs of the device, HTC has created a formidable hardware platform for the unveiling of Android 2.1. It will supposedly be thinner and faster than the iPhone, and beats the iPhone on paper in a number of categories, but it won't create the sort of frenzy or demand that Apple achieved with its mobile phone.
3.It won't be a Droid . Not only will it not be an iPhone, but the Nexus One won't even be a Droid--the current crown jewel of Android-based mobile phones. Verizon invested a substantial amount of money marketing the Droid and creating a buzz around its launch. While the Droid was not the first Android-based phone, it was the first Android-based phone from Verizon. Arguably, Verizon and the Droid are responsible for Android becoming a household word.
On paper, the rumored Nexus One specs are only incrementally different or better than the Droid. Combined with prediction number four, below, the Nexus One doesn't introduce any compelling new functionality to make it exciting. Basically, the market for the Nexus One probably already just got a Droid and won't be looking to change for a couple years.
4.The T-Mobile plan will handicap its success. I'm sorry, but there is a reason T-Mobile is the number four wireless provider in the United States. As much media attention as AT&T gets for customer frustration and complaints, the fact is that AT&T is very solidly in second place and T-Mobile's subscriber base is but a drop in the bucket.
With that in mind, only rabidly anti-Apple users would consider it a good deal to pay $180 for a Nexus One to get locked into an $80 a month contract for two years with T-Mobile, when they could just get a subsidized iPhone for $99 on AT&T's network with roughly the same per-month subscription cost.
5.Nexus One will be a missed opportunity. Google is a powerhouse hybrid somewhere between Microsoft's industry dominance and Apple's flair for innovation. Google could have done a lot to shake up the wireless industry and change the status quo, but if the rumors of the Nexus One pricing and plans are accurate Google missed that boat.
Some have speculated that Google could leverage its vast empire of online and mobile advertising (assuming the Admob deal passes regulatory scrutiny) and provide a powerful Android-based smartphone for little cost by subsidizing through mobile-based ads.
At the very least, Google could have teamed up with AT&T, the other GSM-based wireless provider, rather than T-Mobile. The Nexus One could have been AT&T's first Android-based device and offered existing customers a compelling smartphone other than the iPhone.
It will be interesting to see how things unfold at Google's press event tomorrow. Maybe the rumors and speculation are wrong, and Google will surprise us yet with an Android-based Nexus One device that offers better than the status quo wireless provider exclusivity we're all used to.