The net has been abuzz lately ever since rumors that Google is actively participating in creating a phone running on their Android platform. Unlike Android-running phones from companies like HTC and Motorola, this phone will be designed directly by Google to be the true ‘Google Experience Phone’. With such a mighty promise, one is certainly intrigued as to how different it will be from other Android devices.
Details have started to emerge regarding this fabled phone. It will be called the Nexus One (not the Google Phone, as many had hoped) and it will be manufactured by HTC, which have been making solid Android devices ever since they released the first phone in the world running on Android (the G1). HTC will be focusing purely on the hardware and manufacturing with Google dictating how the software will work and what kind of hardware is necessary from HTC’s part. The reason for this direct partnership is supposedly so that Google can control every single process of the phone’s design and not have to listen to carrier’s request, which is often vocal on certain issues like teetering, network support, etc.
Once manufactured, Google intends to sell the Nexus One direct to customers unlocked. In Western countries, selling unlocked phones have been a rather sad affair because of the huge price differential between costly unlocked phones and carrier-subsidized phones. For example, an unlocked iPhone will fetch upwards of $700 while if you sign up with a carrier, the same phone can be gotten for $199. It is due to this that unlocked phones are rarely successful, as Nokia can attest since they have been selling unlocked phones in American without much success.
There have been some concern about how Google will tackle this problem of trying to sell an unlocked phone without turning customers off by their high, unsubsidized price. Some have postulated that Google intends to bundle ads together with the phone and use that as a way of selling the phone cheaply directly to customers. However, the idea seems to be rather hard to execute given the backlash that Google got when they first introduced ads for Gmail, which privacy advocates have condemned as the system works by scanning your email and displaying relevant ads. Over time, the feature became a necessary part of Gmail, but nevertheless, the initial criticisms were almost damning.
Specs of the phone have been overwhelming. Hackers have taken apart the Android 2.1 (which the Nexus One will be running) and discovered it will be running Snapdragon at 1GHz (for comparison, iPhone 3GS runs a less powerful processor at 600mhz) making it the most powerful device when it is released early 2010. It has proximity, ambient light, magnetic and accelerometer sensors, WiFi, a stereo FM speaker, a noise-cancellation chipset, OpenGL ES 2.0-capable graphics, and references to an auto-focus camera with LED flash. Going by today’s standards, the phone is probably going to be unbelievably expensive unlocked, so it remains to be seen how cheaply Google can sell these, even with ad-supported revenue.