Well, after loads of teasing over the last month or so, Google today finally came out and officially announced their own phone– the Nexus One. As it turns out a lot of those inital rumors were in fact spot on, but that’s not to say Google didn’t have some new surprises to show off today.
Ok, so let’s start with a confirmation on what we intially believed was in the device: T-Mobile 3G, 3.7 inch AMOLED screen, trackball, WiFi (including the latest and fastest wireless N), Android 2.1, 5 megapixel camera with flash and video recording, GPS and compass, 3.5 mm headphone jack and a 1 GHZ Snapdragon processor (for great speed, power and multi-tasking).
There also are the 2 mics for better call quality (for the times when you actually use your phone, as well, a phone) — one is just a reg mic, the other is for noise cancellation so the other end of your call mainly hears you– and that thin, sleek, all touchscreen design. Like the iPod, you can also order the phone engraved with with your name, special message- whatever you want. Oh, and this design is mad thin, like actually pencil thin!
Ok, so that the main specs, now what about this Android 2.1?
Android 2.1 is actually a pretty cool upgrade to the Android OS. Sure it ain’t anything major (unlike some rumors that said this would be a whole different version of Android), but there is still a lot in here that make this a solid update to Android. Here are a few of the main things you’ll notice on 2.1:
- Live Wallpapers– What Google has done here is they’ve taken you standard homescreen wall paper and made it interactive. Meaning its now more than just a pic, but rather a moving, changing Wallpaper, that in some cases even interacts with touch (such as in one wallpaper, you can touch anywhere on the screen and watch a series of blue, red, yellow and green dots fly out from where you touched. Not terribly practical but still pretty cool).
- Voice to Text– Google has put into pretty much everyplace you would have a keyboard to put in text– from a search bar, to a note pad to even text, IM and email writing, the ability to speak and have the phone “write” it in for you. Now this is very cool and actually useful.
- Google Maps Navigation (like on the Droid)
- 5 Homescreens (up from the previous 3)– with new widgets for weather, news, Facebook, etc.
This, of course, is all on top of the Android we know and love, so there’s still the Android Market, YouTube, Gmail apps, etc.
Ok, so now to plans, and here’s where things get real interesting (in both good and bad ways).
As we know, Google is selling this phone in 2 ways: either for $180 with a 2 year T-Mobile contract, or $530 unlocked. Now the T-Mobile plans were rumored this week to be just one plan, and really only for new customers. Fortunately, however, existing T-Mobile customers can upgrade and buy the new phone online, directly from Google, for $279.99 if you’re adding a data plan to your contract, or $379.99 if you’re upgrading your data plan to 500 whenever minutes with unlimited T-Mobile to T-Mobile and unlimited nights and weekends, as well as unlimited texting and internet. Unfortunately, if you’re on a family plan, Google says that you should buy the unlocked Nexus One (for the much more expensive $530), and then call T-Mobile about a plan. Why Google and T-Mobile are doing this, we don’t know.
Now just to end all this carrier talk on a little brighter note, Verizon is getting the Nexus One this Spring! What the plans and prices are like and more details like that we don’t yet know, but we do know it’s coming.
Alright, so you may be thinking– now that Google finally made their own phone, what does this mean for Android? As of right now, we honestly can’t say a whole lot will change. The phone is still made by HTC (makers of the G1, Hero, Droid Eris), not Google, and Google even recommends for Verizon users who can’t wait for the Nexus One to order the Motorola Droid now (even putting a link on their order page). Heck, don’t be surprised if we see 2.1 updates come out for the Droid and other current Android devices.
Now could this be the phone that finally beats the iPhone as the ultimate smartphone? In terms of design and power, it definitely can put up a strong fight though the limted options for getting a subsidized, cheaper version do hurt its chances in our eyes (we’ll see what happens once it hits Verizon).
So there you have it– everything you need to know about the Nexus One aka Google Phone. The Nexus One is available now unlocked and for T-Mobile and you can order it from Google’s site here.