We’re only hours away from Google’s special event when the company is expected to launch the Android-based Nexus One mobile device. There has been a lot of speculation about the handset, and how it will differ from competitors like the iPhone. An early hands-on review by Engadget suggests the Nexus One will be a solid device, but not be immediate threat to the iPhone.
But that won’t stop the endless comparisons to the iPhone once the Nexus One is released later today. So why not just dive right in with several things Google needs to get right on the Nexus One, as well as the Android platform in general, to beat the iPhone.
It’s all about speed when it comes to smartphones, as users want a blazing fast connection and a device that doesn’t take forever to load a program. The Nexus One is widely believed to have a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor making it super fast, although not blazing fast according to Engadget’s review. The iPhone 3GS, where the ‘S’ stands for speed, has a 600 MHz processor, so clearly the Nexus One will have the advantage for the time being. But that could change if Apple brings out another version of the iPhone this year.
Right now, the Nexus One looks like it will have a pretty standard pricing plan: $180 with a two-year contract with T-Mobile or $530 unlocked. If Google really wanted to shake up the system it would figure out a way to offer the Nexus One at an even cheaper price or for nothing at all.
If Google wants the Nexus One to rival Apple then it will have to be careful not to be seen as a closed device. The Nexus One is expected to be sold unlocked for $530, meaning you should be able to use the device with the carrier of your choice. But the Nexus One is a GSM phone so only two U.S. carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile, will be able to support the phone.
The problem is early reports are saying the Nexus One’s 3G connectivity will only work on T-Mobile, not AT&T, which automatically limits how you can use the phone. If I’m paying over $500 for a phone, I want it to be as wide open as possible, and that includes being compatible with both 3G networks.
Maps, Goggles and more
Google has released some really nice mobile toys recently including Google Goggles and free voice-activated turn-by-turn GPS for Android 2.0 devices. Then there’s Google Voice, which, when combined with Gizmo5 (a Skype-like service Google recently acquired), could turn Google into a quasi-independent network provider for voice services.
If Google keeps releasing cool features that are available only for Android devices, or at least on the Android first, then these features may give Android an advantage over Apple’s device.
So will the Nexus One be a game changer or is this just another mobile device taking up space on an already crowded mobile field? Only a few hours until we know for sure.