Google Finally Unveils Controversial Nexus One

Rumors of a Google phone in the offing initially emerged three years ago. After so much speculation as to the veracity of such tittle-tattle, the search giant has finally confirmed its existence and has unveiled Nexus One, Google’s very own mobile phone brand and design.

At the outset, it will only be available on T-Mobile’s network or unlocked in the U.S.; but Google said the mobile phone will soon be accessible from Verizon and Europe’s Vodafone, as well.

Consumers who are ready may now purchase the phone at Google.com/phone, a recently set up Google Web page dedicated for this purpose. The package includes the phone cost of US$179 with a T-Mobile connection or unlocked at the price of US$530. Options for Verizon and Vodafone will most likely be available sometime in the first quarter, with expansion plans to include other carriers and international markets in the near future.

Buyers are required to have a Google log in and must make use of the Google Checkout to be able to purchase the phone.

Initially Available Only in Three International Markets

For starters, the Nexus One is only available in three international markets, although negotiations with native carrier tie-ups are still ongoing. Singapore is one of these three international markets, as divulged by a Google spokesperson. In fact, Customers may already place their orders for Nexus One right now at a slightly higher price of US$577.31, which includes the phone, power adapter and shipping cost. Shipment will be handled by DHL.

HTC Industrial Design

Taiwan’s HTC Corporation designed and manufactured the phone. Prior to its proclamation on Tuesday, photos and details were leaked online by a tipster. One of the Nexus One’s distinctive features is a 3.7-inch AMOLED display, with a resolution of 800 x 480. HTC has managed to make the 1GHz Snapdragon-powered device look so sleek at 11.5 mm thick.

Alerts of events like new e-mails or text messages are indicated by the illuminated trackball that pulses multi-colored lights based on the type of notification. In addition to the compass and accelerometer, the device comes equipped with light and proximity sensors, both of which automatically dim the display when there is adequate light and or when the user moves the phone to the ear to talk.

The two microphones are situated one each in front and at the back and cancel background noise quite conveniently when user is in a noisy environment. It is also provided with a 3.5mm headphone jack and it has a 5-megapixel camera with a LED flash, which can shoot MPEG videos.

It is perhaps because of the speedy Snapdragon processor and upgraded software that Nexus One appear to zoom faster than the Motorola Droid, as was shown in the webcast press event demonstration.

The phone uses the Android 2.1 software, built from the Android 2.0.1 version that the Droid phone currently employs. This enables the user to make more customization, such as placing widgets across five home screens rather than just three.

The concept of live wall paper was also introduced by this device; with animated backdrop images sitting behind the widgets. An amazing example is how, by merely touching, it can send ripples on an image of a small lake with a reflection of floating leaves.

Further, Android 2.1 voice has stepped one notch higher with its capability to enable every text field in the device. Simply put, the phone will translate to text when a user speaks Twitter messages, along with Facebook posts and e-mail messages.

Mario Queiroz, Google’s vice president of product management, called Nexus One as the paradigm of the possibilities to come, through the use of Android on mobile phones. He added that it truly lives up to its name, which means point of convergence and figuratively translates to “where the Web meets the phone.”

Looking back, the rumors of a phone that Google would directly sell first started in November, after employees who received phones began posting messages online. Although Google admitted that it had indeed handed out phones to selected employees, the statement was maintained that the devices were a trial run for the employees to test new features.

It can be recalled that Google first made mention of Android in 2007, making known that it was entertaining the idea of offering the industry an amalgamated mobile platform; justifying the move with the complaints of having to repeatedly restructure mobile applications to complement each of the varied wireless operating system. Google projected that Android could assist to address the issue.

Despite the Android’s relatively slow take off with just a single phone model for almost a year, it now seemingly poses a real threat to Apple’s iPhone supremacy. There are currently more than a dozen Android phones available on the market.

A ChangeWave survey released last Monday clearly manifested that 21 percent of respondents who plan to buy a smartphone within the next three months, would rather opt to buy Android. This is in comparison to the 28 percent who decided they want an iPhone.

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