Opinion: The Nexus One is a sequel, not a revolution.

Mario Queiroz, Vice President of Product Management for Google, shows off the Nexus One

Mario Queiroz, Vice President of Product Management for Google, shows off the Nexus One

The Nexus One phone might have a huge impact on the shape of the mobile market in the months ahead but it’s not the paradigm shift many claim it to be, says Adam Maguire.

Following weeks of intense hype and speculation Google has unveiled the Nexus One which many – including BBC News 24 – are referring to as the ‘Google Phone’.

The term ‘Google Phone’ has been used by techies for some time now to refer to a fantasy phone that would be designed from scratch by the search giant. This mythical device would see Google use its expertise and skill to blend hardware and software together seamlessly, creating an experience that rivalled all others.

As such it is plain to see why the Nexus One has been unofficially branded as the Google Phone by pundits and bloggers alike.

It runs on Android 2.1, the operating system designed primarily by Google. Its development by HTC involved massive input from Google, to the extent that it carries the Google logo on the back. It is being sold directly to customers by Google, making them the distributors too.

However the Nexus One is not the Google Phone, nor is it as revolutionary as many are claiming.

In reality the Nexus One is just a HTC phone; a follow-up to another HTC phone, the G1 (a.k.a. Dream), for that matter.

Much like the Nexus One, the G1 was designed by HTC with massive input from Google. The G1 runs the Android operating system; in fact it was the first to do so. The G1 also carried the Google logo on the back to show the influence the search company had over it.

Even the slogans of the two phones are similar – The G1 was dubbed to be ‘Everything you love about the web, now in your phone’ while the Nexus One uses the snappier ‘Web meets phone’.

The only thing that really makes this release any different from the G1′s is that Google is selling it directly rather than solely relying on the traditional marketplace. While that in itself is interesting it does not really mark any great departure by a company that has slowly been moving into the customer transaction space for some time.

None of that is to say that the Nexus One is not important. The phone appears to be Google’s attempt to showcase the latest version of Android, in much the same way that the G1 was used to show the OS off in the first place.

The hype that now surrounds it is sure to put Android into the minds – and in turn hands – of many new users too, creating a greater challenge to Nokia and Apple than has existed so far.

Indeed, while Google has not pretended this device is the legendary ‘Google Phone’ it is sure to be happy to let the myth continue as it is focusing people’s attention on an operating system that until now has kept a relatively low profile.

But while Google may benefit from keeping a lie alive it is hard to see why tech writers are so keen create this mis-truth to begin with. Perhaps its because there is no story in admitting that this launch was only marginally important, as opposed to massively significant.


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