How long has the gadget-loving world been talking about the idea of a Googlephone? For at least three years–before there was an iPhone, let alone an Android. The longer people talked about it, the more revolutionary it was supposed to be. Who better than Google, after all, to show what an Android phone can be and shatter people’s assumptions about how phones and phone services are sold while it’s at it?
On Tuesday, Google finally announced the Googlephone, in the form of the Nexus One–if you define “Googlephone” as a phone with Google software and Google branding, sold by Google on a Google site. And…there’s nothing radical about it. Judging from the first few hours I’ve spent playing with one, it’s a good phone–a really good phone. The best Android phone so far, and (along with Palm’s Pre) one of the few phones worthy of being discussed in the same breath as Apple’s iPhone.
But everything that’s better about it is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It’s a little bit better than Verizon’s Droid, which was a little bit better than HTC’s Hero, which was a little bit better than the MyTouch. And considering that Verizon’s Droid spent just two months as the undisputed Android-phone-to-buy, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if the Nexus One was ousted by another little-bit-better phone by Spring. There’s also not nothing particularly remarkable about the way Google is selling the phone, although the company says to stay tuned for more phones with more hardware and carrier partners–including a Verizon Nexus One this Spring.
Bottom line: If Android-based phones are going to catch up with the iPhone–and they might–they’re going to do so in a series of baby steps, not through the Great Leap Forward that some folks expected this phone to be.
Like other journalists at Google’s launch event, I received one as a review loaner. Here are my first impressions. As is my wont, I’m going to provide them in the form of a FAQ.
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