Jan 10

Google enters the arena


Stand back — another iPhone killer is born

Droid, Pre, Storm, Cliq — kindly step aside. The real Clash of the Titans is taking shape. In a single day, ad giant Google unveiled the Nexus One while phone giant Apple bought itself a mobile ad company. This should be fun. But first things first. A few instant reactions to Google’s new baby:

Name. Lame. You’ve got a killer brand, a high-end entry into the world’s hottest market, months of global anticipation for a “Google phone” … and you call it what? Ya know, sometimes obvious really is best. Ask iPhone. GooglePhone, Gphone, take your pick. (Oh, and if you really, really had to go this route — and you didn’t — was that “One” really necessary?) Extra points for iPhone before the rumble even starts.

Features. Overall: spotty. Some cool things (better screen than iPhone, 5-megapixel camera, voice-enabled so you can write an email simply by speaking). Some duds (no multi-touch, a microscopic 190MB allotted for downloaded apps, wimpy app store, dismal music player).

OS. Google presented Nexus One as “the best Android device.” Brazen, considering the co-CEO of Motorola was in attendance — presumably with the second-best Android device, Droid, in his pocket. Wouldn’t there be fighting in the streets if Microsoft suddenly started selling “the best Windows computer”? Google says it’s not trying to reap profits from the sales of Nexus One, just “broadening the availability of Android handsets.” Uh huh. Already, Nexus One has features that are merely “coming soon” to other Android phones.

Price. $529 unlocked, $179 with a 2-year T-Mobile “subsidized” contract. To be honest, this industry-wide subsidy thing has always sounded fishy to me. If Apple can haul in the cash selling a 16GB iPod touch for $199, how much more can it cost to add telephony to that? Conspiracy theorists, unite!

Design. Hmm, now where have I seen this look before…

I’m eager to see some real reviews now that Nexus One is among us. I think the competition between former buddies Apple and Google will be good for the industry and riveting to watch. But make no mistake: there will be blood.

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  • Dhaya

    Hi, just wanted to rectify some facts about the features. There IS multitouch in the Nexus One, but not on the core applications. The storage limitation is going to be waived soon with an update, though i agree that’s lame, it shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

    And I have a little question, what do you think of the Flash Player integration in every smartphone but the iPhone ?

  • ken segall

    Thanks for the clarification on multitouch. I’ll update the post a bit later. To answer your question: I often find myself wishing that iPhone had Flash integration. I also think the iPhone’s camera is horrible, and I was stunned that it took two years to get the landscape keyboard working in Mail when it was fully functional already in Safari from the start. This is why I love to see Nexus One enter the market. It’s the competition that makes things better for everyone.

    Update 1.6.10 12:10p: In the reviews I’ve read, I still see complaints that there is no multitouch. One finger, one action, period. So I’ll stand by that one until it’s shown to be inaccurate.

  • some interesting reviews out there, this is from engadget.com at CES:

    this one is from gizmodo.com:

    a lot to talk about and take in but no earth-shattering, game changing results, some bad points for things that people at Google should have known better as they’ve had the iPhones to dissect for a while now… at the end it just seems to be (yet another) smart phone … camera resolution not being the main reason to by a new phone (yet) …

    i think the big ‘everyone’s holding their breath’ event is the upcoming (soon hopefully) iSlate announcement… Apple is pretty well set up as the redefiner/changer and the rest seem willing to sit and wait and then play catch-up … … …

  • Flash should never enter Iphone , or at least i want to be able to not allow it :)
    Its the most “security flawed” application out there. I believe thats why Apple doesn’t allow it.
    Now even the reader has a security flaw and Adobe states that will take 1 month to update it : 15 december to 12 Jan 2010.
    See here : http://www.adobe.com/support/security/advisories/apsa09-07.html

    Sorry for long off-topic Ken :)

    Now you guys can flame me :P

  • ken segall

    I wasn’t aware of the security issues with Flash. I just feel the frustration every time I want to see something on my iPhone and it doesn’t work. And no worries about the flaming thing. We’re just one big happy family here.

  • Loren


    The Droid (by Motorola), Milestone (by Motorola) and the Nexus (by HTC) all have hardware capable of multi-touch. The Droid uses multi-touch sensing/processing to enhance the virtual keyboard input processing (you can find this in well-written product reviews). The Milestone, when sold outside the USA, has multi-touch enabled in the expected applications (you can find this in well-written product reviews).

    There is a reason why Android phones sold in the USA don’t have multi-touch enabled in some expected (by iPhone users) applications.


  • Cory

    If you were Motorola wouldn’t you be mad? Now they are saying that Android 2.1 is just a sexier version of the 2.0 version installed on the Droid. Here’s a good question… can one upgrade their Droid to 2.1 or is that something that is not possible… and how easy can one go about this if it is possible.

    When you buy an iPhone… you know the software is being updated… and that you as an end user can actually do the upgrade with very little knowledge or effort…. can one say that about Android phones? Does Motorola even know if future Android version will even work… or does each phone get a slightly different version where no one upgrades…. where there are many different versions of Android in the wild.

    When you go to the Android app store…. are there only going to be a small percentage of apps that will actually work for your phone because of all the hardware manufactures and different specs and key placements. How does a developer keep their applications working on all the different handsets, with different screen resolutions and sizes?

    It’s going to be a nightmare.

  • Marian

    Well, I installed FlashBlock plugin in Firefox, so lack of Flash in the iPhone is not that bad. It’s almost a feature :-D

  • ChuckO

    What an amazing thing. These Google guys have ice water in their veins and a giant pair in their pants. Their partners just found out what it’s like to have Caligula’s fist rammed up their ass and with a global audience. If there was any question before I think we’ve found our new borg. The revolution will be televised but only so Google can make money providing the ads.

  • ChuckO

    Boy this NexusOne thing seems to have fallen pretty flat at this point. A lot of “meh” reactions to hardware/software that isn’t doing anything new. The only people that seem impressed is the “those who can’t do teach” crowd (silicon alley insider, techcrunch, etc.) who are crowing about how this is the opening volley in Googles ten steps ahead of everyone else strategy to take over the mobile world.

    And Andy Rubin’s Steve Jobs impression is getting even worse reviews than Jon Rubenstein’s.

  • no

    One thing you forgot is that Google
    is marketing as a Superphone.
    What ever that means but I am
    sure there is a marketing message
    to be had from that.

  • ken segall

    Sure, they’re trying to make something of that. Most people are having a good laugh with it, however. How exactly is Nexus One more “super” than iPhone or any other smartphone? This is pure marketing, with no basis in reality. And it’s not like people can’t figure that out.

  • ChuckO

    Outside of the tech bloggers who HAVE to get excited about stuff like this Google announcement and CES every bit of genuine excitement and interest seems to be directed at the Apple Tablet (Slate) at this point. It seems like everybody interested in tech is white knuckling it until the 27th.