Leaked to death, the announcement is expected to be about the “Nexus One”, Google’s own Android OS 2.1-based smartphone, coming with just about everything except what’s most important: multi-touch.
Despite the fact that Palm has delivered multitouch with the Palm Pre and Pixi, and LG delivered it almost a year ago with its “Arena” handset, all of the other phone manufacturers haven’t had the guts to go up against Apple’s patents and make multi-touch a standard feature.
The Nexus One is also supposed to do something that’s quite common in most of the rest of the world, but still alien to most in the US, and that’s to be on sale without a contract at US $530, allowing users to use whichever GSM network takes their fancy, be it AT&T or T-Mobile in the US, or many others around the world.
The Nexus One is also supposed to be sold at the much cheaper price of US $180 with a two year contract through T-Mobile, undercutting the iPhone 3GS by $18.
There has been much hoopla over the fact that Google is now directly competing with its OEM partners, something Microsoft has never dared to do with its Windows Mobile phones or Windows PCs, but Google’s direct involvement is good for competition, not bad.
Yes, Microsoft did ‘screw its partners’ when it came to the Zune and has paid for it with lackluster sales and the “killing” of the iPod only in Steve Ballmer’s imagination, but Microsoft’s main problem here was that it didn’t go “Zune” early enough, waiting for years until it was, effectively, too late.
So, will the Nexus One really excite the imagination of most users? Sadly, I doubt it. No multitouch. Tens of thousands fewer apps. A stack of specifications that will likely be matched or bettered by the presumed iPhone 4G, which if history is any guide will arrive in around six months time.
As you probably already know, Engadget has already reviewed the Nexus One, and effectively branded it as just a little bit faster that the Motorola Droid, thus ensuring it is no true iPhone killer.
Google: the Nexus One does sounds like a great phone in terms of it being the best Android handset out there. But for how long? Where’s the multitouch? Will there be global sales or is this another lousy “US only” debut?
We’ll undoubtedly have more answers come the official Google Nexus One launch due on January the 5th, US time, but I think most of us will rather keep our iPhones (or buy an iPhone), watch how the Nexus One hoopla unfolds and hold our cash close to our chests in anticipation of seeing just how much ado Google can cook up over any future “Nexus Two”.