Google Nexus One review
The Nexus One is not a revolutionary device, but it is the first handset that will offer a meaningful challenge to Apple’s iPhone.
While Google’s software, called Android, has powered other phones, this is the first one where the search giant has specified the design – that focus means the pencil-thin Nexus One is built to feel like a genuine object of desire.
And the Nexus One offers features the iPhone lacks, too – the camera’s resolution is 5mp, compared to Apple’s 3mp, there are satnav capabilities built in that cost Apple users extra, and a fast processor means the Nexus One operates quicker than any phone currently on sale in the UK. Web-browsing is impressive, although in the UK is likely to lack the multitouch capabilities that have been available on previous versions of Android. Automatic online synchronization of camera photos is also impressive. It’s effective voice operation, for controlling the phone and writing emails, however, that is the most surprising feature. This is the first time I’ve seen a version of that technology that is genuinely useable.
In the burgeoning market for additional applications (Apps), however, Apple’s iTunes Store offers 115,000 compared to the 20,000 or so in Google’s Android Marketplace. That means that there are currently far more games, tools and clever tricks available to iPhone owners. As more phones start to adopt Google’s operating system, however, Android is likely to catch up fast. And while Android can run a number of Apps at once, the iPhone can’t.
Does the Nexus One feel quite as well put together as the iPhone? No, although it’s close enough to make no meaningful difference. What Android handsets can’t do, however, is plug in to your music collection as seamlessly as an iPod or an iMac. And that’s the biggest problem Google faces – an iPhone is a web-browsing, every song in your pocket, phone call making pleasure to own. It’s part of an entire ecosystem, with accessories, covers, speaker systems and even ties that are built to house iPods.
But the Nexus One does plug in effortlessly to the web, social media, email, calendar, search and contacts functions; perhaps the company that dominates web search should simply start making the computers as well.