Google's Nexus One
Kicking off the New Year by throwing down the gauntlet at Apple, Google have unveiled their new 'superphone' the Nexus One, set to be the biggest challenger to the iPhone yet.
Armed with the latest Android software that boasts 3D graphics and speech recognition, the Nexus is set to become one of the 'must have' gadgets of 2010 and Google is doing everything they can to ensure this is the case. Securing the backing of some of the world's major mobile networks, including Vodafone in the UK (though it's a non-exclusive agreement), Google are building up the awareness of their smartphone before it is released in the middle of the year.
Speaking at a press conference, HTC chief executive Peter Chou whose Taiwanese firm has made the touch-screen device said, "I think you will see it pushes the limits of what's possible on a smart phone."
Not one to shy away from bigging up his company's design prowess, Mr Chou added, "It is very thin and feels good in your hand."
But what makes the Nexus better than the smartphones that have come before it, such as the Palm Pre? In short, it's more advanced than any other phone on the market. It has Android, a 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and even animated wallpapers that respond to touches to the screen. Google's vice president for product management, Mario Querioz, has described the Nexus as "the next stage in the evolution of Android".
The Nexus is clearly an attempt by Google to capitalise on the rapid growth of the smartphone market, and they are aiming to ensure that people searching the web on their mobile phones are doing it on Google.
At the press conference, Google stated that the Nexus was "a point of convergence where the web meets phone and is an example of what is possible on mobile through Android. A major selling point will be the fact that Google has set up its own phone portal, through which people can get a handset tied to one of several mobile operators or untethered direct from the search firm. What this would mean is that owners could decide which network to sign up with.
However to ensure that critics don't simply dismiss it as an 'Android version of the iPhone', HTC have a few other tricks up their sleeves for the Nexus. For example, it's Teflon coated - that's right, the back of the phone is designed to repels the daily film of dirt that builds up in your pockets or on tables and desks.
Also, in order to avoid 'Can you hear me now?' situations, the Nexus features a second microphone, that samples the ambient noise around the caller, cancelling it out. It means that all calls sound clearer to both the caller and the person they're speaking to.
The smartphone market has made massive leaps in recent months, with the application market alone now worth over US$1 billion. Google are clearly hoping the Nexus will mean Android's application market gets the kind of boost the iPhone gave Apple's. Currently, the Apple store has over 100,000 applications with over 3 billion downloads over the past 18 months. In comparison, the Android only has 16,000 possible applications.
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