Google Unveils the Nexus One Smartphone

By Craig Buckler
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Google Nexus OneThe 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.

Google Nexus One

Operating System
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

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?

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  • Vishal

    Apple iPhone vs Google Nexus One (with Android) is what Mac is to Sony Vaio (with Windows)

  • kingkool68

    Mine is on a delivery truck on its way to my door as I type this. Just saying…

  • LeeCeHan

    Sounds like a great phone but it is missing a keyboard like the Droid! I have a Droid and it rocks. Wondering when 2.1 will be out for the Droid…

  • The Scarlett Pimpernel

    It’s the current $30.00 a month data plans that keep me from picking any of these up. Do something about that and I’ll gladly get rid of my old flip phone.

  • Won what? A large market share, especially in the US? Yes. An even larger mindshare among journalists. Yes. Complete dominance in the market? Not by a long shot. S60 still has the largest smart phone market share, even if it is shrinking.

    This is sent from my Nokia n900, BTW. I like open standards and it has got the best mobile browser! (I have plenty of iPhone experience to compare with.)

  • zalucius

    Looks interesting, however imho the Nokia N900 is still a better alternative… the full qwerty really adds alot to the web experience.

  • It’s just another Android phone, virtually identical to the Droid and every other aside from the newer hardware. That’s no more targeted as an iPhone killer than other smartphones. The news is that Google is selling this phone at, where you pick a phone *then* pick whatever carrier you want (in a few months at least)… the phone itself is not newsworthy at all.

  • wordpress themes

    this is really gonna be a great phone…
    its a masterpiece i must say…

  • Vivek

    I’m all excited. Google phone comes as a suprise when I was thinkin on getting an iPhone. Looking for more review, Curious to know the quality of the Audio on Nexus.

  • redunculous

    @Dan Grossman: seriously? The Phone itself is not newsworthy at all? Twice the speed as the iPhone at 1Ghz, twice the ram at 512mb and the clearest brightest display technology on the market with it’s 3.7″ OLED and up to 32GB of storage space. The Woz himself has said that this is his favourite gadget right now. But no, you’re probably right, it’s nothing to speak of.