Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nexus One and the future of Android

Google held their much anticipated Android event yesterday where they officially announced the Nexus One. The device itself had been rumored, leaked, previewed, and pictured for weeks, but yesterday it finally became official.

Numerous sites have already written extensive and excellent reviews of the device (here and here), as well as expert coverage of the event yesterday (here and here), so I won't recap any of that.

My quick impressions of the device? It's a solid Android phone that really moves the platform forward and is a great sign of things to come. The screen is nice and bright (but will look terrible in the sun); the phone is super thin (but doesn't have a real keyboard); it's really fast (but not that much faster than the Droid). In every respect, it's pretty much just a really nice Android phone. It's not the "end all, be all" Android phone as was rumored.



Everyone had hoped that Google and T-Mobile would change things up a little and sell it either way cheaper than other phones, or with a cheap plan, or something like that...something that would shake up the wireless industry. But alas, they didn't. And they in fact are screwing existing T-Mobile customers who may want to upgrade by forcing them into new plans. So...pretty much life as usual with the sucky United States wireless industry.

But there is a glimmer of hope in the way the phone is being sold. Google is launching their own Android storefront at google.com/phone that will eventually be a place where users can shop for, research, and buy a variety of Android devices for a variety of carriers. That's a drastic departure from the way phones have been sold in years past and once the selection features more than one phone, that could be the shake up we were all hoping for.

At present, however, there's very little revolutionary about the Nexus One itself, and the way it's being sold caters entirely to new customers, perpetuating the old cell phone company mantra of "new customers first, existing customers never."

It's disappointing really, but it holds hope of things to come. Part of that hope lies in Android 2.1, which is the newest version of Android that is running on the Nexus One. Google has said that as many existing devices as possible will be updated to 2.1, but they weren't specific about exactly which ones. Those of us with G1s, of course, are holding onto the lone hope that we aren't left out.

Android 2.1 is not a drastic departure from previous Android versions, but it includes a large number of visual improvements, which clearly indicates Google's continued dedication to Android and to making it both a functional and beautiful entry into the smartphone space.

Overall, yesterday's event was extremely disappointing for me. But there are lots of new phones on the horizon, and I still have 10 months left on my contract, so I'll be waiting it out to see what happens. :-)

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