Google’s Nexus One meets cool reception

Google has taken the wraps of the Nexus One, but analysts have been left unmoved by the “superphone”.

Google's Nexus One meets cool reception

The Nexus One runs on the 1Ghz Snapdragon platform and Android 2.1, features a five megapixel camera and a 3.7in OLED display – which sadly lacks the multitouch ability of the iPhone. Google’s claiming seven hours of talk time, or up to five hours of internet use.

Though built by HTC, the Nexus One is Google branded and will only be available through Google’s own website. While the phone sounds much like every other Android-powered smartphone on the market, Google was keen to point out that it had extended its voice-recognition technology to every aspect of the device.

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This allows people to write text messages, emails, tweets or Facebook posts simply by speaking. In the presentation, a Google engineer demonstrated the feature by speaking the text message “Check out this new voice keyboard! I just hope this demo works.”

It seemed to, though we’ll wait for our review models before drawing any firm conclusions. The Nexus One is also the first Android smartphone to feature active noise cancellation, which will fade out background noise when you’re speaking in a busy area.

The launch of the Nexus One marks a significant shift in strategy by Google, which has described the smartphone as “the next stage in the evolution of Android”. And it’s an evolution that’s desperately required, if figures from Gartner are to be believed.

The analysis firm claims that Android currently has a 3.5% share of the global smartphone market, in comparison to the 39% share held by Nokia, 21% held by RIM and 17% gobbled up by Apple.

However, analysts greeted the announcement of the smartphone with mild disappointment. “It wasn’t the game-changer people thought it could be,” says Canaccord Adams analyst Jeff Rath. “It’s very close to the Droid, some people will debate whether it’s better. But it looks like an incremental improvement rather than a blow-the-doors-off improvement,” he added.

Indeed, Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Interpret, told PC Pro that the phone could work to undermine Google’s partners. “Google’s just admitted that not all Android phones are created equal,” he says. “Motorola customers can’t be feeling too good.”

Similarly, Gartner analyst Nick Jones claimed that the big news wasn’t the Nexus One, but Google’s decision to start selling products to customers directly. “When all’s said and done it’s yet another high-end smartphone, in this case manufactured by HTC,” says Jones.

“So will it stop at Nexus? I guess not… perhaps we’ll see Chrome OS netbooks on the shelves in the future as well.”

The phone is currently being sold in the US for $179 on a two-year contract, or $529 unlocked. Google has confirmed plans to bring the Nexus One to the UK through Vodafone, though it has not given a date.

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