Google unveils Nexus One handset


Google unveiled its first Android handset, the Nexus One, yesterday which is now available SIM free and expected on Vodafone in the coming months.

Google, who descrbed the 3G touchscreen device as “where the web meets phone,” unveiled the device at its headquarters in Silcon Valley before invited press.

The handset will be available SIM free from the Google website from today costing $550 (£331). To purchase online, customers require a ‘Google account’ and Google ‘check out’ account.

The device is expected to be available on Vodafone in the UK in the next couple of months both SIM free and on contract for a subsidised fee. Other networks are expected to take the device later this year also.

The handset is already available from US operator T-Mobile USA for $179 on a two year deal and will later be launched on Verizon.

The 11.5mm wide device, manufactured by HTC but designed by Google, features a new advanced version of the Andorid Operating system 2.1 unique to the device and a voice enabled keyboard and inbuilt satelite navigation.

Other features include a five megapixel camera including flash and autofocus, 4GB memory using MicroSD expandable up to 32GB, video, Wi-Fi, stereo bluetooth, 10 hours talk time and a 3.7 inch screen.

Google vice president of engineering Andy Rubin commented: “The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call ‘superphones,’ with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset making it as powerful as your laptop computer of three to four years ago.

“It’s our way to raise the bar on what’s possible when it comes to creating the best mobile experience for consumers. We look forward to working with handset manufacturers and operators to bring more phones to market through this channel worldwide.”

HTC Corporation CEO Peter Chou added: “The Nexus One represents the unique combination of design and innovation two companies like Google and HTC can have when they collaborate.

“The Nexus One continues HTC’s strategy of offering people a portfolio of phones that meet their diverse needs.”

IDC telecom analyst John Delaney commented after Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who earlier this year stated “your mobile phone should be free. It just makes sense” when discussing online advertising.

Delaney said: “If our rationale is correct, then the Nexus One has one big drawback: its price. Google needs to get as many of these devices into users’ hands as possible, as quickly as possible.

“Failure to do that will not only negate the device’s strategic goal, but it will also damage Google’s brand prestige, since comparisons will inevitably be made with the high volumes of iPhones that Apple has shipped.

“Maybe it’s not viable for your phone to be free just yet – but it may be in Google’s interests to make this one a lot cheaper.”