Nexus One – Another $500 unlocked smartphone – Ho Hum

January 6, 2010
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Google finally officially launched their own, much anticipated, mobile phone.

Okay, so it’s Google, so it will make a bit of a splash, but for now at least, it is a mostly inconsequential moment.

When the news was finally broken that the event was about the Nexus One, nobody in the audience applauded–it seems even the journos in the crowd weren’t enthused.

It’s sort of a hybrid of the iPhone strategy and Nokia strategy. The phone can be purchased bundled with a plan from T-mobile for $179 with two-year contract (the iPhone way) or it can be purchased “unlocked” for $529 (the Nokia way).  We’ve seen all this before – the only difference is this time it has Google’s name on it.

In the future, Google says you’ll also be able to buy the phone with a Verizon plan (Spring 2010).

This is the difference between Apple and Google. When Apple releases a new product, it may not have all the features yet, but the features it has are really slick and polished – it is fully baked and ready for prime time on day one. With Google, everything is half-baked. At some point Google might finish the product, but in many cases they never do, and the product hangs around in limbo “beta” mode forever (take Google Talk for example, or even the Android “Marketplace” store). They just don’t seem serious about most of their products.

I think Google sees mobile telephony as strategic and so they probably want to move Nexus One forward – question is, can they? – Do they have the right stuff to do it? GOOG has made it pretty clear that their enemies are telecomm carriers and Apple – I guess they’ve gotten bored with Microsoft.

For now, Nexus One is a “wait and see” for me. Google is going to have to show me a little more, show me that they’re serious this time.

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