Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
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Of course, as more and more details about the Nexus One have emerged, we’re left with even more questions about this device and its place in the mobile industry. We’ve already discussed what the Nexus One will need to do to compete against the iPhone, but what about other Android devices? What makes the Nexus One different and how can it compete against the Droid? These are our biggest questions and observations about the Nexus One as it stands right now.
How is it Different?
“An iPhone on steroids” makes for a nice soundbite, but that’s not enough to set the Nexus One — or any mobile phone — apart from the pack. Aside from the Google partnership and the fact that it is already running the latest build of Android, what sets this phone apart from others? What makes this phone different and unique from HTC’s other offerings?
Simply being branded as an official Google device isn’t going to be enough unless the phone has some unique or exclusive features. Right now, it sounds like the phone has a really fast processor and a beautiful OLED screen, but that may or may not be enough for customers to go through the require hoops of buying the device.
Can Google Make Selling Unlocked Devices Work in the US?
Right now, the word on the street is that Google is going to offer the Nexus One unlocked for GSM networks. This is a strategy that might work extremely well in Europe, where every wireless network is GSM based, but in the US, it’s a risky strategy. First, let’s acknowledge that unless an unlocked CDMA version is also available, the phone will work only on AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States (assuming that the phone is unlocked for both 3G spectrums), plus a number of regional GSM providers.
Google is going to need a real incentive (either price, features, or both) to convince users to buy the phone and take it to another carrier. In Europe, the “compete for my business” tactic might just be brilliant enough to work. However, pitting AT&T and T-Mobile against each other, especially when T-Mobile already has its own line of Android-based devices, doesn’t seem likely unless there are tons and tons of customers looking to ditch existing contracts and buy the phone.
That’s another issue: being unlocked doesn’t mean that the phone won’t still require a contract just to get onto a wireless network. Sure, existing subscribers can probably just swap the phone for whatever phone they are currently using and not have to worry about resigning a contract — but unless we’re talking a pay-as-you-go sort of option, contracts without term limits are not something that the wireless industry seems ready to embrace.
Will This Splinter the Android Market?
If you’re Verizon and Motorola, you’re unlikely to be happy that the Nexus One is stealing Droid’s thunder. If you’re Sony-Ericson, Samsung or LG, you’re probably equally miffed or at least, worried, about what the Nexus One means for your Android plans.
Android’s biggest asset — its ability to run on many different devices by many manufacturers — is also one of its setbacks. Both Windows Mobile and Symbian are examples of platforms embraced by lots of different manufacturers that have ultimately suffered because of inconsistencies across models, versions and phones.
Version and device splintering is already a cause for concern for Android, because devices running different versions of the OS (some that can be updated, some that can’t be) already exist. For developers, having to choose which versions to support and what device-specific features to support is an issue that is going to become even more apparent as Android continues to expand.
If the Nexus One is going to be considered the ultimate Android device, will other Android makers need to introduce new and unique features to their own devices to compete? What does that do to the Android Market?
Google Could Shake-up the Industry
Whatever misgivings and questions I might have about Nexus One, I absolutely acknowledge that Google has the potential to shake-up the entire industry. Just as Apple changed expectations and user experiences in 2007, Google could change the business of how phones and contracts are sold. Google is not to be underestimated.
Even by risking intra-platform splintering, Google’s personalized take on the mobile phone experience will offer great competition. It prevents industry leaders from sitting back and relaxing. As Principal Vernon would say, “don’t mess with the bull young man, you’ll get the horns.”
More Google Nexus One Coverage
Reviews: Android, Android Market, Google
Thursday, December 10, 2009
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Sunday, December 6, 2009
Reddit community member elmstreeter’s mother passed away this week, and yesterday he turned to the social news site to create a photographic memento: his last photo with his mom had her breathing tubes obscuring her face, and he wanted them removed. He wrote in a posting to the site:
My mother died of cancer yesterday. This is the last picture of us together and I wondered if anyone with mad Photoshop skills could touch up the picture and remove the oxygen cannula. I would greatly appreciate anyone who could be of assistance.
PS Hug your mom today
Touchingly, Reddit users did come to his aid, Photoshopping out the tubes and even fixing up a broken chair.
This might be the sweetest story we’ve heard all week. Nice work, Reddit users.