Google unveils rebadged HTC as ‘Nexus One superphone’

“Calling it their ‘superphone,’ Google unveiled the Nexus One on Tuesday, marking the online search giant’s first leap into the smartphone market,” Doug Gross reports for CNN.

MacDailyNews Take: And just like that, Motorola and the other has-beens have been PlayedForSure™. Now, to the left we have yet another rectangular device with one face comprised mainly of a touchscreen upon with icons of a certain size are arranged in a grid. Where, oh, where have we seen this before? This particular iPhone wannabe, like all other Android phones, also has some superfluous buttons thrown in along the bottom of the screen because HTC’s and/or Google’s “designers” either couldn’t figure out how to do things as efficiently as Apple or were prohibited from doing so by Apple’s patent portfolio. Oh, we almost forgot: Nice wallpaper.

Gross continues, “The phone, which goes head to head with Apple’s darling of the market, the iPhone, is sold only through a Web store operated by Google and, unlike the iPhone and most other current smartphones, is available either with or without mobile service.”

“T-Mobile is the initial service provider. Verizon in the United States and Vodafone in Europe will be coming on board later, and more operators are expected,” Gross reports. “Already available Tuesday, the phone costs $180 with a contract or $530 unlocked… It is be a global-system device with a 3.7-inch touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi connectivity, an accelerometer and a compass… Nexus One runs the latest version of the Android operating system, Android 2.1.”

Full article here.

Nancy Gohring explains for Computerworld, “While the Nexus One is being sold unlocked, it is essentially a T-Mobile phone, at least initially. Customers can buy the Nexus One at a discounted price with a contract on T-Mobile’s network. If a consumer buys the phone unlocked for $530, the customer can use the phone on AT&T’s network, but without access to the high-speed 3G network. The phone can’t be used on Verizon Wireless’ or Sprint’s network currently.”

“The Nexus One also won’t support tethering, a much sought after feature. Rubin said the lack of tethering isn’t a technical issue but a business issue. That could mean that operators are pressuring Google not to allow it for fear of overloading their networks,” Gohring reports. “The Nexus One also doesn’t support multitouch, like its competitor the iPhone.”

Full article here.

Walt Mossberg reports for AllThingsD, “I’ve been testing the Nexus One for a couple of weeks and I like it a lot. It’s the best Android phone so far, in my view, and the first I could consider carrying as my everyday hand-held computer.”

“The iPhone still retains some strong advantages. It boasts well over 100,000 third-party apps—around 125,000 by some unofficial estimates—versus around 18,000 for the Android platform. And it has vastly more memory for storing apps, so you can keep many more of them on your phone at any one time,” Mossberg reports. “On the Nexus One, only 190 megabytes of its total 4.5 gigabytes of memory is allowed for storing apps. On the $199 iPhone, nearly all of the 16 gigabytes of memory can be used for apps. In fact, the $199 iPhone 3GS has roughly four times as much user-accessible memory out of the box, though the memory on the Nexus One can be expanded via memory cards.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, Uncle Walt actually remembered to write about something important this time around. Wonder what prompted that?

Mossberg continues, “Apple also has a more-fluid user interface, with multitouch gestures for handling photos and Web pages.”

“There are some downsides to the Nexus One. Like all Android phones, it relies too much, in my view, on menus that create extra steps, including some menus that have a built-in ‘more’ button to display a secondary menu of choices. I also found the four buttons etched into the phone’s bottom panel sticky and hard to press,” Mossberg reports. “In addition, although the Nexus One claims seven hours of talk time versus five hours for the iPhone, most of its battery-life claims for other functions are weaker than Apple’s.”

“In addition, the Nexus One, and other Android devices, still pale beside the iPhone for playing music, video and games. The apps available for these functions aren’t nearly as sophisticated as on the Apple devices,” Mossberg reports. “Finally, the iPhone is still a better apps platform. Not only are there more apps, but, in my experience, iPhone apps are generally more polished and come in more varieties.”

Full review here.

Karl Denninger writes for The Market Tracker, “You’ve got to be kidding… Sorry, but with this pricing this thing is dead on arrival… They also, IMHO, made a huge mistake not insisting that the 3G frequency set be compatible with AT&T’s frequencies.”

“In addition watching the webcast was literally painful,” Denninger writes. “This company – with a $623 per share stock price – put presenters on the stage that appeared to have EXTREME levels of stage fright, didn’t know the product and what’s worse, their camera-man (or men) were beyond incompetent and made the presentation look worse than the ‘Morning News’ from my kid’s grade school ‘broadcast TV!'”

“To be blunt I was stunned at how poorly this ‘announcement’ was handled,” Denninger writes. “If this is indicative of what Google has become over the last two years their stock is overvalued by 95% or more.”

Denninger writes, “It really was that bad.”

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, now we’re awake. Let’s take a look:

Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: Cringe.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, at least Eric T. Mole learned something while sitting Apple’s Board: “Superphone” certainly sounds better than “Rebadged HTC.”

[Apple’s iPhone] goes beyond smartphones and should be given its own category called “brilliantphone.”Tim Bajarin, January 09, 2007

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take:


  1. “It pushes the limits of what’s possible of a mobile phone today,” said Peter Chou, the CEO of HTC, which designed the Nexus One.

    I’m not quite sure what the limits even are, but to say that a rebadged phone that catches up to what the iPhone has been doing for almost a year now can hard be considered pushing.

  2. Don’t sniff at it. This is the first real competitor to the iPhone. Google is far ahead of anyone in terms of cloud-based computing, and the Nexus One, while a good phone judging by its specs, is but one component in how competitive it will be. Google has stepped up the way that apps are delivered to the Nexus One, and will integrate many of the company’s services with it to make this the number one competitor to the iPhone. The services aspect is something that other handset makers using Android won’t be able to match.

    In addition, Google is apparently going to keep itself ahead of other Android licensees when it comes to having the most advanced version of Android. This will likely bite them in the future, as licensees will probably chafe at that. In addition, the Android ecosystem is highly fragmented compared to Apple’s approach.

    Competition often brings benefits to consumers. Now that Apple finally has a legitimate competitor, we can expect that our favorite company’s next move will be to up the ante quite a bit. This may also be the catalyst to see if Apple offers the iPhone to other carriers in the US.

    I don’t expect that Apple will be slowed down or knocked asunder by today’s announcement. But unlike the Droid or the Pre, the Nexus One, more based on its ecosystem than anything else, does pose a legitimate challenge to the iPhone. Not a killer, but a challenge. It pretty much will kill Palm, and Microsoft is floundering hopelessly. The new year is about to get interesting. And it makes me all the more fascinated at what Apple will say later this month in San Francisco.

  3. Geez, everything on the market now looks like an iPhone. It’s almost humorous how no one even makes note of this anymore. I guess they’re so used to Apple leading and everyone else copying that they don’t even notice….

  4. This is not a real competitor for the iPhone… It is just another phone with a crappy user experience. I see that Verizon is getting it but it is not CDMA – how will that work? I mean I paid for an unlocked phone and can’t use any carrier?

  5. @Bob
    “In addition, Google is apparently going to keep itself ahead of other Android licensees when it comes to having the most advanced version of Android. This will likely bite them in the future, as licensees will probably chafe at that. In addition, the Android ecosystem is highly fragmented compared to Apple’s approach. “

    Can you say antitrust! If they do this, they will be in legal trouble big time.

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