The Nexus One smartphone, one of Google’s worst-kept secrets, has been launched. Since it’s tag line is “web meets phone,” it could be an important device for web developers to understand and support. Details are still emerging, but here’s what we know so far:
The HTC hardware offers a Qualcomm QSD 8250 1GHz processor with 512MB Flash, 512MB RAM and a 4GB SD card (up to 32GB is supported).
The device features a 3.7 inch 800 x 480 touchscreen — more than double the pixels offered by a certain popular competing smartphone.
The Nexus One is the first phone to use Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 with support for English, French, German, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Russian languages.
Since Android is Google’s OS, GMail, Maps, YouTube and a Chrome-like browser will certainly be available. Google Maps looks particularly impressive and offers turn-by-turn satellite navigation facilities.
The following media formats are supported:
- Images: JPEG (encode and decode), GIF, PNG, BMP
- Video: H.263 (encode and decode), MPEG-4 SP (encode and decode) and H.264 AVC (decode)
- Audio decoders: MP3, AAC, AMR, MIDI, Ogg Vorbis and WAVE
- Audio encoder: AMR-NB
It offers a 5 megapixel camera, autofocus, 2x digital zoom, and LED flash. Video can be captured at 720 x 480 at 20fps (or higher, depending on the lighting conditions).
UMTS, HSDPA, GSM/EDGE, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and USB are all supported. A standard 3.5mm headphone socket is available for media playback.
The device can find your location using its AGPS receiver, cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning. It features a digital compass and accelerometer.
The phone contains a removable 1400 mAH battery which can be charged from the USB port or the charger. You can expect around 250 hours on standby with up to 10 hours talk time (much less if using wi-fi or playing media files).
The device measures 119mm x 59.8mm with a depth of 11.5mm. It weighs 130g, or 100g without the battery.
Not a chance! A few lucky US buyers will be able to get a SIM-free Nexus One for $529, but don’t expect widespread worldwide availability for several months. If you want to try the features now, Google have online demonstrations available at http://www.google.com/phone
Obviously, Google is aggressively targeting users who have or are considering an iPhone. The Nexus One’s specifications look good and the phone is likely to be available at a price that undercuts Apple’s products. (Google offers an advertising revenue share to mobile carriers whereas Apple insist on upfront payments and a slice of service charges).
However, Apple products are easy to use, appeal to users at all technical levels, and have a cult following. By comparison, Google products often feel a little geeky. I suspect the Nexus One can compete against the iPhone, but it could ultimately share the same market space as the Palm Pre.
Are you considering a smartphone? Can the Nexus One succeed or have Apple already won?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.