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How Mighty is Google's So-Called Superphone? Gadget Gurus Weigh In

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How Mighty is Google's So-Called Superphone? Gadget Gurus Weigh In
January 07, 2010
By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

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Google calls it a “superphone.” But will Nexus One be the big iPhone killer of 2010?
 
A number of experts weighed in, just hours after Google announced the launch of its first-ever smartphone, featuring its Android (News - Alert) 2.1 operating system.

 
Made by Taiwan-based manufacturer HTC, Nexus One is slim, light (weighing just 130 grams) and supposedly faster than other Android phones, thanks to the addition of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 3G QSD8250 chipset, delivering speeds up to 1GHz.
 
Another little-reported advantage of the Nexus One is Flash support, noted TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani, a gadget expert who frequently blogs about the latest devices to hit the market.
 

“A site which uses Flash needs to have yet another set of pages or sites designed so an iPhone can see what is happening,” Tehrani wrote in the blog post Flash on Google Nexus One Makes App Store Battle Moot. “By comparison the Android-powered Nexus One doesn’t need as many applications because sites can they can see all the Web sites the way they were intended to be seen … So while only 10,000 applications run on Android and 100,000 on an iPhone, Google can be considered to actually be ahead of the game when you factor in all the Web sites it can see correctly.”
 
In other words, Tehrani wrote, “the app store battle has been won by Google – and it will be won by any other mobile device maker which embraces fully functional Flash support.”
 
But while Flash support didn’t make headlines when Nexus One launched, Google’s simultaneous launch of a new way for consumers to purchase an Android mobile phone most certainly did.
 
Nexus One will be initially available from the Google web store in the United States without service for $529 or starting at $179 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile USA. In the near future, Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless in the United States and Vodafone in Europe plan to offer services to customers in their respective geographies.
 
Google will initially take orders from consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.
 
In the coming months Google said it plans on partnering with additional operators, offering consumers access to a broad set of service plans.
 
Through the Web store found at www.google.com/phone, consumers can buy the Nexus One without service (meaning any GSM network SIM card can be inserted into the device), or purchase the phone with service from one of Google’s operator partners.

Calling Nexus One “the most anticipated phone since the advent of the iPhone,” market research firm In-Stat’s (News - Alert) analysts said the stakes are high for Google, as software is becoming a key factor in determining the user experience in the crowded smartphone market.
 
“In-Stat believes new [operating systems] such as Android will cut away at Symbian’s market share,” said Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. “Although there are relatively few open source OS-based smartphones in the market today, the open source OS momentum is difficult to ignore. After years of hype, it is easy to see that 2010 will be the year of Android.”
 
Other analysts, like ABI Research’s in-house expert Michael Morgan, appeared cautiously optimistic about the phone’s ability to stand out.  
 
“It appears that with every announcement, Android devices get a little better; the problem is that these devices are getting better every quarter instead of every year,” Morgan posted in a blog on the new phone. “Consumers are aware of the new devices being released due to large marketing campaigns funded by operators and handset vendors, but not many can tell the difference between a 1GHz snapdragon implementation and a 500MHz one. Add to this the changes in OS capabilities and which carriers offer which OS version on which device and suddenly consumers can’t see the forest through the trees.”
 
But when you break down the device to the sum of its parts, Morgan said the newest member of the Google Android family possesses some great traits.
 
“To be fair, Android is a relatively new mobile OS and application processors are in the midst of a switch to the next technology tier of multi-core and 1GHz speeds,” Morgan blogged. “Putting these two factors together, it can be expected that there will be many incremental improvements to Android handsets running on improved hardware. Add into this the fact that Android development cycles and hardware development cycles are currently out of sync, and it becomes apparent that the Android world needs some guidance to reduce the confusion and fragmentation. The Nexus One announced by Google may help to steer the Android handset market back towards true north and help consumers to understand what an Android handset should be… at least according to Google. With the Nexus One, Google is offering a handset where the software and the hardware are in developmental sync.”
 
Meet Rich Tehrani and other technology experts at ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Don’t wait. Register now.

Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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