There were few surprises today as Google officially unveiled the search giant’s own Android smartphone, the HTC-manufactured Nexus One. Here’s a quick recap of what we knew, what we now know, and the ‘so what’ of it all.
What is the Nexus One?
True, Nexus One is one of the “replicants” in the legendary sci-fi hit Blade Runner. It’s also (by many accounts) the latest and greatest Android OS-powered smartphone.
As the first Android phone to be branded with with the four colors of Google’s familiar logo, the Nexus One is Google through-and-through – although manufactured by Taiwanese handset maker and Android veteran HTC. The Nexus One is the fastest and most powerful Android smartphone to date, and the first to be running Android 2.1.
What carriers will it work with, and what is this ‘unlocked’ you speak of?
The Nexus One will work with both T-Mobile and AT&T. But – and it’s a big but – the Android phone will NOT work with AT&T’s 3G network. Without 3G speeds, one of the most powerful smartphones available will be relatively impotent on AT&T’s network.
Buying Google’s own Android phone unlocked means you can use it on either AT&T or T-Mobile by simply swapping out your SIM card.
How much on T-Mobile contract/unlocked?
You can pick up the Nexus One for $179 with a 2-year T-Mobile contract or, if you want to taste the glorious freedom that comes in the form of an unlocked phone, you will have to shell out $529.
Beginning today, both versions are available at Google’s newly minted phone store, which cleverly enough can be found at http://www.google.com/phone. Shipping is free, and you can even choose to engrave the phone with a heartfelt message espousing your love for Android (or just your name).
Is it coming to Verizon?
So good of you to ask. Why yes, yes it is. Expect the Nexus One to be available on Big Red in the Spring of 2010. Price is not yet set, but you can probably expect to pay something in the ballpark of the T-Mobile contract price – on Verizon contract, of course.
Though the iPhone may still be king in the hearts and minds of many, AT&T is undoubtedly tugging at their collar as yet another fiery hot Android phone promises to make its way to AT&T’s biggest rival.
What’s so great about the hardware?
Above all else, the thin and lightweight Nexus One is lightening fast thanks to its claim to fame as the first Android phone to boast a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor under the hood. Also, besting the iPhone, the Nexus One rocks a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. It also has unnecessarily speedy WiFi 802.11n connectivity, a trackball that changes colors for notifications, and two mics to assist in cancelling out background noise. The Nexus One is also armed with the usual suspects, including A2DP stereo Bluetooth, GPS, a compass, 3.55mm headphone jack, and a proximity and light sensor.
Does the Nexus One have multitouch? Tethering?
Google is being rather coy regarding multitouch on the Nexus One. The hardware supports it, but it’s disabled – likely to avoid potential legal hot water. Multitouch is, however, available in certain applications such as PicSay.
Tethering isn’t available right out of the gate, apparently not because of a technical issue but because of a business issue according to PC World We’ll keep you posted.
What’s new in Android 2.1?
Android 2.1 redefines voice use, bringing voice far beyond the Google search box by enabling text entry to each and evert text field by voice. Yes, that means sending texts and emails…with your voice. Also new in the freshly baked Android version is live wall paper, allowing you to have a swirling galaxy or series of other interactive images as the background for five home screens. There’s also a new 3D photo gallery and the application tray has been replaced by a sleek menu screen that provides a 3D fading effect on icons as you scroll down.