Google (News - Alert) ended weeks of speculation today and launched its first-ever Google-branded smartphone, called Nexus One, along with a new way for consumers to purchase an Android mobile phone.
Weighing just 130 grams, the 11.5-millimeter-wide gadget manufactured by HTC (News - Alert) is equipped with the newest Android software: Version 2.1. Other features include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 3G QSD8250 chipset, delivering speeds up to 1GHz; a 3.7-inch AMOLED 480 x 800 WVGA display; and a trackball with tri-color notification LED, alerts when new e-mails, chats and text messages arrive.
“The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call ‘superphones,’ with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset making it as powerful as your laptop computer of three to four years ago,” said Andy Rubin, VP of Engineering, in a press statement. “It’s our way to raise the bar on what’s possible when it comes to creating the best mobile experience for consumers. We look forward to working with handset manufacturers and operators to bring more phones to market through this channel worldwide.”
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, according to Google.
Google will initially take orders from consumers in the United States, the U.K., 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, Google said in a press release.
The Nexus One offers advanced applications and features including:
1. Google Maps Navigation: offering turn-by-turn driving directions with voice output.
2. E-mail: multiple Gmail accounts; universal inbox and Exchange support.
3. Phone (News - Alert) book: aggregate contacts from multiple sources, including Facebook.
4. Quick Contacts: easily switch between communication and social applications.
5. Android Market: access to more than 18,000 applications.
In addition, the Nexus One introduces new functionality and software enhancements. With these, users can:
1. Enter text without typing.
2. Use a voice-enabled keyboard for all text fields: speak a text message, instant message, tweet, Facebook (News - Alert) update, or complete an e-mail.
3. Search Google, call contacts, or get driving directions by just speaking into the phone.
4. Take personalization to the next level.
5. Dynamic, interactive, live wallpapers react to the touch of a finger.
6. More widgets and five home screen panels allow for further device customization.
7. Capture camera-quality pictures and video with your device, which includes a 5-megapixel camera (with LED flash, auto focus, zoom, white balance and color effects).
8. View pictures and Picasa Web Albums in the new 3D Gallery.
9. Record high-res MPEG4 video, and then upload to YouTube with one click.
10. Read voicemail messages.
11. Get transcribed voicemail with Google Voice integration, without changing your number.
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