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Google's Nexus One Superphone Launched
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#1
[Image: img_195102_nexus-one.jpg]
Google has unveiled its first phone the Nexus One, which combines the latest in hardware from HTC Corporation with the newest Android software.

The goal of Google's new consumer channel is to provide an efficient way to connect Google's online users with selected Android phones.


Through the web store found at www.google.com/phone, consumers can buy the Nexus One without service (meaning any GSM network SIM card can be inserted into the device), or purchase the phone with service from one of Google's operator partners. As new phones come to market through this channel, consumers will benefit from the ability to match a phone of their choice with the service plan that best meets their needs. Operator prices and plan details will be featured on the site.

"The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call ‘superphones,’ with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ chipset making it as powerful as your laptop computer of three to four years ago. It's our way to raise the bar on what's possible when it comes to creating the best mobile experience for consumers," said Andy Rubin, VP of Engineering. "We look forward to working with handset manufacturers and operators to bring more phones to market through this channel worldwide."

Nexus One Hardware features include:

* Display: 3.7" AMOLED 480x800 WVGA display
* Thinness: 11.5mm; Weight: 130g
* Processor/Speed: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 3G QSD8250 chipset, delivering speeds up to 1GHz
* Camera: 5 megapixel auto focus with flash and geo tagging
* Onboard memory: 512MB Flash, 512MB RAM
* Expandable memory: 4GB removable SD Card (expandable to 32GB)
* Noise Suppression: Dynamic noise suppression from Audience, Inc.
* Ports: 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with four contacts for inline voice and remote control
* Battery: Removable 1400 mAh
* Personalized laser engraving: Up to 50 characters on the back of the phone
* Trackball: Tri-color notification LED, alerts when new emails, chats, text messages arrive


"The Nexus One represents the unique combination of design and innovation two companies like Google and HTC can have when they collaborate," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. "The Nexus One continues HTC’s strategy of offering people a portfolio of phones that meet their diverse needs."

The Nexus One runs on Android 2.1, a version of the platform's Eclair software, which offers advanced applications and features including:

* Google Maps Navigation: offering turn-by-turn driving directions with voice output.
* Email: multiple Gmail accounts; universal inbox and Exchange support.
* Phone book: aggregate contacts from multiple sources, including Facebook.
* Quick Contacts: easily switch between communication and social applications.
* Android Market: access to more than 18,000 applications.

In addition, the Nexus One introduces new functionality and software enhancements:

* Enter text without typing.
* Use a voice-enabled keyboard for all text fields: speak a text message, instant message, tweet, Facebook update, or complete an email.
* Tell your phone what you want it to do.
* Search Google, call contacts, or get driving directions by just speaking into your phone.
* Take personalization to the next level.
* Dynamic, interactive, live wallpapers react to the touch of a finger.
* More widgets and five home screen panels allow for further device customization.
* Capture camera-quality pictures and video with your device.
* 5 megapixel camera includes LED flash, auto focus, zoom, white balance and color effects.
* View pictures and Picasa Web Albums in the new 3D Gallery.
* Record Hi-Res MPEG4 video, and then upload to YouTube with one click.
* Read your voicemail messages.
* Get transcribed voicemail with Google Voice integration, without changing your number.

Nexus One is initially available from the Google web store in the US without service for $529 or starting at $179 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile USA. In the near future, Verizon Wireless in the US and Vodafone in Europe plan to offer services to customers in their respective geographies. Today,consumers can go to www.google.com/phone to learn about the Nexus One and place an order. Google will initially take orders from consumers in the US and three other markets – the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

In the coming months Google plans on partnering with additional operators, offering consumers access to a broad set of service plans.

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#2
The search giant scores a point with the touch-screen Android cellphone, but needs to do more

Search giant Google, with its proven habit of teasing internet users, has done it again. After nearly three years of speculation over whether it will manufacture its own phone and retail it, Google has launched what it calls a “super phone” (as opposed to a smartphone).

Christened “Google Nexus One”, the handset has been made by Taiwan-based HTC while the software platform is its own — Android 2.1. The phone will initially be available only in countries like the US, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore (not in India currently). Customers can purchase the phone from the “Google webstore” at google.com/phone. The unlocked version in the US is priced at $530 (approximately Rs 24,300) while the phone costs $179 (approximately Rs 8,200) with a T-Mobile contract (the telco-driven model which subsidises the handset price).

Explaining the term “Nexus One”, Mario Queiroz, vice-president of product management at Google, said during a late night webcast: “Nexus means a point of convergence. This is where the Web meets the phone.” The announcement, which was the most anticipated phone since that of Apple’s iPhone, was perfectly timed to pre-empt many of the significant announcements planned for this week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, according to Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist of In-Stat.

“A question we asked ourselves some time ago was what if we work even more closely with our partners to bring devices to market which are going to help us showcase quickly the great software technology we’re working on here at Google,” said Queiroz, adding: “We’ve done just that.”

The device does not disappoint. It has a 3.7-inch OLED 800 x 480 display (iPhone’s has a 3.5-inch, 480 x 320 offering, and OLED screens are brighter and more colour-rich than TFT-LCD screens) and runs a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. (The Motorola Droid, for comparison, has a 550-MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor while the iPhone 3GS runs on a 600-MHz chip.) The Nexus One also has twice the RAM of the Droid or the iPhone, with 512 MB on-board.

The device is 11.5 mm thick, and weighs just 130 grams (Google compares it to a Swiss knife. The iPhone is 12.3 grams and weighs 135 grams). It has a metal bezel (which surrounds the phone) that can be customised when purchasing the device. For instance, one can engrave: “Happy Birthday” and gift it to a dear one.

Nexus One has a 5-megapixel camera which includes an LED flash and takes MPEG 4 videos. The device also has a trackball which pulses light to alert users of events like new emails or SMSes. The phone also has light and proximity sensors, besides a compass and accelerometer. The light sensor will automatically dim the display when a bright light is not needed.

The proximity sensor also dims the display light when a user moves the phone to the ear to talk. The phone has two microphones — one in the front and one at the back — enabling noise cancellation (especially useful if you’re in a noisy place). The software, Android version 2.1, builds on Android 2.0, and users can place widgets across five home screens instead of three. Android 2.1 voice enables every text field in the device. That means users can speak Twitter messages, Facebook posts and email messages and the phone will convert them to text to send.

Nexus One also includes a 3D photo gallery and live wallpapers (the background images sit behind widgets, and are animated. For instance, Quieroz gave a demo of a photo of a small lake with leaves floating in the water. Touching it created ripples on the water). The device also supports popular Google applications such as Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.

The building market momentum behind Android is unmistakeable. “In-Stat believes new OSs such as Android will cut away at Symbian’s market share,” says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. “Although there are relatively few open source OS-based smartphones in the market today, the open source OS momentum is difficult to ignore. After years of hype, it is easy to see that 2010 will be the year of Android.”

In-Stat believes the stakes are high. Gone are the days when the basis of competition was solely defined by hardware. Software is becoming the key in determining the user experience. If, however, a particular OS does not garner developer support, then the result could be disastrous, according to In-Stat analysts.

Google, say analysts, has also upset telcos which cut three-way deals with phone makers and operating system vendors to sell phones exclusively on their network. They attempt to sign-up users with two-year contracts and data services. However, Google, on its part, offers carrier-independent models, too, which implies that telcos would have to compete on pricing and the quality of their networks rather than exclusive deals for hot phones.

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