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Google's Phone Is Nothing Special


The powerhouse has produced a product that doesn't live up to consumer expectations.


When I heard Google (GOOG) was releasing the Nexus One mobile phone, I couldn't help but get excited.

With the exception of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone, mobile phone design has been more evolutionary than revolutionary in recent years. Screens have gotten bigger and clearer, cameras have gained more megapixels, and software has become incredibly sophisticated. But the reality is that despite improving tech specs, most phones fail to generate any meaningful excitement among consumers. If you've seen one phone, you've seen them all.

I had high hopes that Google would be the next company to break the mold, but a quick look at the Nexus One indicates that it's nothing special.

Engadget, which apparently has more pull in the tech world than yours truly, was lucky enough to get its hands on the new phone over the weekend:

The thing that's struck us most (so far) about the Nexus One thus far is the fact that it's really not very different than the Droid in any substantial way. Yes, we'd say the design and feel of the phone is better (much better, in fact), and it's definitely noticeably faster than Motorola's offering, but it's not so much faster that we felt like the doors were being blown off.

So not only is Nexus One not as hot as the iPhone, it's not much better than the recently released Motorola (MOT) Droid, which runs on Verizon's (VZ) superior network. And I can't tell you exactly what the market-research guys were thinking, but this Nexus One name doesn't work -- it sounds like some kind of space-age shampoo.

Google also goofed by making the Nexus One a GSM-only phone. GSM is great in other countries, but not so much here in the US, where iPhone users have overloaded AT&T's (T) 3G Network. And T-Mobile, where Nexus One launches first, is a fairly small network relative to Verizon and Sprint (S).

Google provides us with a lot of great services, many of which are free or actually help you make money. I use roughly a half-dozen Google apps every day and love all of them, but the Nexus One is a clear misstep.

Remember, Google is trying to get its Android mobile-phone operating system onto as many phones as possible. By trying to compete with the phonemakers that are putting Android on the map, it's competing with its own partners -- with a phone that's obviously not a game changer!

If this phone was a real killer, we'd be having a different discussion. But Google's not going to stand out in the overly crowded smartphone world with just another smartphone.

See also, Google Enters the Ring as a Heavyweight.

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