Google Android Nexus One - Is it a threat to the iPhone?

Google Android Nexus One - Is it a threat to the iPhone?

Summary: A lot of tech pundits will be covering the Google Android Nexus One announcement, but rather than forcing you to wade through tons of irrelevant and boring information, I'll distill it all down to the highlights here.


A lot of tech pundits will be covering the Google Android Nexus One announcement, but rather than forcing you to wade through tons of irrelevant and boring information, I'll distill it all down to the highlights here.

  • Google chose to kick off the event by adopting the Apple format of throwing numbers at the audience to show how great and successful Android has been so far. Basically boils down as follows - 20 Android devices - 59 carriers - 48 countries so far - Android is "developer friendly" - Apps are "always on" (a poke at Apple's iPhone platform there)  - Yada, yada, yada ...
  • Nexus One - "Web meets phone." Being described as a new breed of "superphone."
  • HTC chosen to develop the phone, has developed seven Android handsets.
  • Device is thin, at 11.5mm. Weighs in at 130g.
  • 3.7 inch AMOLED 480 x 800 screen. Powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm SnapDragon CPU which allows better multitasking.
  • Screen is touch-sensitive, but not multitouch like the iPhone. Hmmm, that's a bit of a FAIL right there.
  • Voice support, and speech to text.
  • GPS built-in.
  • Powered by Android 2.1 "Eclair" OS.
  • Built-in trackball acts as notification light.
  • Built-in accelerometer.
  • 5.0 megapixel camera and an LED flash. Capable on MPEG-4 capture. One-click upload to YouTube.
  • Active noise-cancellation mic.
  • Built-in Google Maps (I bet there's far more "built-in" Google than that) and Facebook support.
  • Widget support - Google News, weather (knows where you are using GPS).
  • Active (animated) wallpaper. Graphic equalizer, water ripple effect
  • Jazzy 3D UI look ... eye candy, but nice eye candy.
  • I wonder what the effect on battery life will be? I wonder if you can turn off all the jazz?
  • Voice recognition actually seems to work. Wow!
  • Interesting surprise: Google Earth for Android. Neat.
  • Able to buy Nexus One from today, with or without contract.
  • Price: $529 for unlocked phone, $179 with T-Mobile contract. Verizon and Vodafone to follow.
  • Coming to Europe in the spring. No details for any other regions.
  • 512MB app storage limit ... due to "security" (in other words, piracy) reasons. Will eventually be able to store apps on SD card. However, that app limit rules out the more sophisticated games and complex apps that you see on the iPhone.
  • No data tethering.

So, is it a threat to the iPhone?

In a word, no. The two handsets seem to be aimed at different markets. The iPhone is aimed at the stylish, probably more flamboyant content consumer, while the Nexus One is, well, not. Being an Android-based handset it's tempting to say that it's aimed at a geekier audience, but given Google's involvement I'm hesitant to say that. Sure, there's a geeky element to it, but all that Google integration makes it a handset aimed at consumers of Google content.

The handset has aspects to it that make it a better handset that the iPhone (processor is one example), but overall the lack of multitouch and the minute amount of storage is lackluster.

Scorecard: "Could do better. A lot better."

So the Nexus One is not a threat to the iPhone. It's certainly no iPhone killer. What it might be however is a threat to other Android handsets. While Google doesn't seem to have gone the extra mile to make it the most super superphone they could (in which case it might very well have been a threat to the iPhone), it's certainly got the potential to hit sales of other Android handsets. Google didn't set out to beat the iPhone into submission, but it may have set out to beat other Android handsets into the ground.

Time will tell what will happen here.

Tech specs -->

Tech specs:

Tech specs:

Height: 119mm Width: 59.8mm Depth: 11.5mm Weight: 130 grams with battery, 100g without

Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz CPU

3.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen WVGA AMOLED touchscreen 800 x 480 pixels 100,000:1 typical contrast ratio 1ms typical response rate

5 megapixels Autofocus from 6cm to infinity 2X digital zoom LED flash User can include location of photos from phone’s AGPS receiver Video captured at 720x480 pixels at 20 frames per second or higher, depending on lighting conditions

UMTS Band 1/4/8 (2100/AWS/900) HSDPA 7.2Mbps HSUPA 2Mbps GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR A2DP stereo Bluetooth

Removable 1400 mAH battery Charges at 480mA from USB, at 980mA from supplied charger Talk time Up to 10 hours on 2G Up to 7 hours on 3G Standby time Up to 290 hours on 2G Up to 250 hours on 3G Internet use Up to 5 hours on 3G Up to 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi Video playback Up to 7 hours Audio playback Up to 20 hours

Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair)

512MB Flash 512MB RAM 4GB Micro SD Card (Expandable to 32 GB)

Assisted global positioning system (AGPS) receiver Cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning Digital compass Accelerometer

Handset is Teflon coated.

Micro SD slot Proximity sensor Light sensor

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Topics: Hardware, Android, Google, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • Adrian Fail

    [i]Screen is touch-sensitive, but not multitouch like the iPhone. Hmmm, that's a bit of a FAIL right there.[/i]

    The screen most certainly is multi-touch. What doesn't appear to be multi-touch enabled is some of the built in software like the browser and Google Maps. The OS, the API, and the hardware all support multi-touch. Please correct your blog.

    Why do you make stuff up to try and make anything not made by Apple look worse? Oh, right, I forgot about your "relationship" with the Apple marketing department.
    • NZ, you're the LAST person to be so pedantic

      Your incorrect terminology, circular logic, non-sequiturs, and tiresome
      use of anecdote as some kind of fact means that you should put down
      the rock and go back under your bridge.
      • Seems like a very accurate description of Mr. NonZealot to me! - NT


      What you presumably mean is that the Nexus One
      has a capacitive touch screen that would be
      capable of reproducing 'multi-touch' were the
      Apps not quite so half-baked.

      What is your goddamned problem, you turgid
      twit?! It'd be nice to have civil debate on
      these boards, but it's impossible with
      arseholes like you popping up with the express
      intention of starting a flame war. You are a
      troll, and as a result a sad pathetic prick.
      A none mouse Cow Herd

        Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
        M: Well, I was told outside that...
        Q: Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
        M: What?
        Q: Shut your festering gob, you [ ]! Your type really makes me [ ], you
        vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!
        M: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT, I'm not going to just stand...!!
        Q: OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is abuse.
        M: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
        Q: Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.
        M: Oh, Thank you very much. Sorry.
        Q: Not at all.
        M: Thank You.
        (Under his breath) Stupid git!!
        • Stop digging you only make yourself look sillier if thats possible -NT

        • Nice Python reference!

        • Great, NZ, you did it now,

          because now [b]MY BRAIN HURTS[/b] ;)
          John Zern
      • Forgive him he known not of what he speaks - He=epistemological teenager NT

    • Point is, it still has multitouch/multitouch capable

      Regardless if his board manners leave a little to be desired, its still correct that the Nexus One like the Droid can do multitouch.Its just flat out wrong to say otherwise.

      Are the stock apps set to use it? No. But there plenty of app in the marketplace that are. Yes, even a browser, dolphin.

      I think its silly for people to think that Google isn't capable of such a technology, when a group of three dudes in an apartment can make an app that is. Why don't they? I don't know, and I won't wager a guess, because it would be just that.
      • The Answer

        Why don't they?

        Apple's patent on twenty-year-old technology
        (multi-touch) when used on a mobile device. Nobody
        wants to get run over by that one, even as bogus
        as it is.
        • You make a good point

          Back to the Fight Club it seems but you make a good point.

          Multi-touch on Android has been discussed at length within it's fledgling community. The drivers for such has been around since Android started (and given it's Linux heritage, even before that), the API to such function has been solidified since the release of the Droid, so it quite capable of doing so with other apps. But anything that comes default on the phone is a no-go (and note, there are many ways to work around that... from installing a new ROM [likely rooted] to just grabbing a replacement app [Droid has a funny instant where you can install the Milestone browser which is capable of such, the funny part is that Milestone is what you see as the Droid in other markets. Currently in beta.]), and it likely due to Apple posturing of it's patents to Multi-touch. That and the known fact that Apple tends to rigorously enforce it's patents... the spat between Apple Inc. and Nokia Corp. currently it a really good example, it been a escalating war of patent slinging currently.
          • agreed

            Yeah, I've also been reading the multitouch threads a lot as well, and i'd put my money on it being due to apple and avoiding legal issues as well.
    • Awesome Comment! ..and ohhh so TRUE! ;)

      The Google Nexus One phone has NO EQUAL! :D ...or even a valid competitor yet! LMAO

      iPhoney's days are numbered! haha

      Multi-what? lol as if that single installable feature is really so dam important. When it's only thing that Apple and their FAN boys can claim it has over it. Apple's ancient UI is looking very decrepit on a funky old smaller screen. Especially w/o all the Eye Candy Apple CAN'T RUN ON THE iPhoney! ;)
  • Honestly I don't know

    I guess on some level any other phone maker is a competitor
    but already there have been so many so called iPhone killers
    the concept just gets old. The truth is only time will tell....

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Multitouch....

    ...a nice but hardly essential feature to be honest. Most folk I know just double tap.

    As for this phone, yes it will. It's not a killer but it's a competitor.
    Sleeper Service
    • I know

      [i]Most folk I know just double tap.[/i]

      I concur. Pinch and zoom sounds great in theory and looks really cool when the news guys do it on big screens but it is awkward on a small screen that needs to be held by one hand and operated with the other, forget about doing it 1 handed. That and all the honest iPhone users I know say that double tap gets them to the right level of zoom 99% of the time.

      I remember a while ago, I asked what multi-touch apps existed in the app store. The best they could do is give me a list of 5 games. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the feature, especially considering how [b]incredibly[/b] hyped it is.
    • beg to differ

      Given the small screen of the iPhone and anything similar, multi-touch is almost essential for browsing websites; double tapping is often inaccurate and clumsy. As much as I dislike Apple as a company, I have to begrudgingly tip my hat to the elegance iPhone, it is by no means perfect but nothing else is even close unfortunately.
      • I disagree...'s pointless. However, where multitouch is useful is on a virtual keyboard.

        Apart from that it's a bit "whatever".
        Sleeper Service
        • I'd have to see it in action myself.

          I use double click whenever I can and it usually works great. So I can agree that's the most important. But there are times when it just doesn't work. The worst being web site sub-menues built into their links, the double click just doesn't lock onto those well or it follows a link rather than zoom. I am not sure myself, I use multi-touch pretty much without thinking any more so I don't know if I would miss it greatly. I would agree with NZ it's in the 95% plus range that I use double-click, the question is will it be a minor or major distraction that less than 5% of the time?