In yet another of the seemingly endless stream of new products coming from Google this year, this week has seen the confirmation of rumors that the search engine giant is about to get more directly involved in the mobile phone space. Google has already made a major step into thesmart-phone world through its creation of the Android phone OS, a product that has exploded in 18 months from one phone with little application support to virtually dozens of phones from different manufacturers and carriers, and with a market of over 20,000 applications. However, it appears that Google is ready now to go to market with their own phone, known as the Nexus One, built by HTC, and sporting some quite impressive specs including a Snapdragon 1GHz chip, a 3.7-inch AMOLED display, and a 5 megapixel camera.
More revolutionary than the specific technology of the Nexus One itself would be Google’s unusual retail strategy, at least for the US market. Unlike virtually every other phone today that is sold for a subsidized price in exchange for a long-term carrier contract, the Nexus One would be sold directly by Google unlocked and without a contract. Nexus One owners theoretically would be able to shop around to find the best deal for themselves, and pick their own carrier. Combined with other Google products like Google Voice, that essentially makes SMS-texts free, this new business strategy would be quite revolutionary in the US, and could disrupt the status quo for handset manufacturers and mobile network operators enormously.
Naturally, since much of what we know about the Nexus One is fragmentary and unconfirmed, there are possible hold-ups that may prevent Google from being quite as innovative as some are hoping. First, if the phone is, as is likely, limited to GSM networks only, then the actual flexibility of it is severely reduced. Some carriers like AT&T are supposed to already be balking on this point. Also, without knowing the exact retail prices and Google’s selling strategy it’s impossible to really gauge how the Nexus One might stack up against its competitors, including the Apple iPhone of course, but also other Android phones, like the Verizon Droid. Nonetheless, according to some sources, the Nexus One will be available already by the first week of January, so we won’t have long to wait to find out if Google is truly aiming to turn the US mobile phone market on its head in 2010.
Are you interested in a Google phone? Does this sound more appealing than the other Android based phones?