Google gives Apple cause for concern with Nexus One

Today’s buzz is all about the announcement that Google is launching its new Google Phone, called the Nexus One.

While Stephen Jobs and the gang at Apple say they are not threatened by this new entry in to the highly competitive phone market, the mere fact that Apple said they are not worried speaks volumes about their concerns of the shifting market share.

Google’s real genius may lie not just in the design of the phone itself but also in the way consumers can purchase the phone and get on the air with it.

Typically, Canadian and American consumers buy a phone from a provider and, in exchange for a subsidy on the device, get tied into multi-year contracts.

Several years ago, Google successfully lobbied U.S. regulators to enact open-access rules, which require wireless carriers to accommodate any devices that consumers want to use on their networks, as long as the technology is compatible.

The Nexus One is expected to be a GSM phone, which means it could theoretically work on T-Mobile and AT&T networks in the United States. In Canada, it could theoretically work on the networks of all the major wireless carriers — Bell, Rogers, Telus and newcomer Wind.

The advantage with Google’s approach is that consumers could buy their phone, and then shop around for service plans from different carriers, as is the case in other parts of the world.

At their launch earlier this month, Wind executives said they would welcome the rumored Google phone onto their network. Wind has adopted the same international approach, where its phones are sold at cost and without a contract.

It is unclear, however, whether the device will work on Advanced Wireless Spectrum, the newly available frequency that Wind and other cell phone companies are beginning to adopt.

According to the leaked pricing plans, U.S. customers who opt to go with a two-year T-Mobile plan and get the phone at a discount would have to pay $350 US if they cancel their service within 120 days.

In terms of technical specs, the Nexus One will feature the following:

 A 3.7-inch AMOLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) display life-like color reproduction with high contrast, ultra sharp images

A Snapdragon Processor
- Multi-colored trackball, which lights up when different events occur
- Light/proximity sensors, as well as compass and accelerometer support

- 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, which can also shoot MPEG4 video (plus one-click uploads to YouTube, natch)

Stereo Bluetooth with active noise cancellation

Case is thinner than the i-Phone

The Nexus One will come packed with Android 2.1, which means it should have equal functionality with the Motorola Droid’s feature-set.

It doesn’t appear that Google will be able to offer the number of apps that Apple does, nor does it have that “sex appeal” that Apple always manages to get into the marketing of its new products.

All in all though, it will be interesting to see how the business community responds to this new product.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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