Comeback Kids: Google Nexus One – You can’t catch the Gingerbread Man

Google launched it own branded phone, the Google Nexus One, after the phenomenal surprise success of the Android OS, which up to 2007, was an unknown OS platform for smart phones. Google took a chance on unknown handset maker HTC from Taiwan in 2009 and made the first Google Android phone, the HTC G1 and as they say in show business, the rest was history. Buoyed by this success, Google decided to dive into the smart phone business ocean by launching the Google Nexus One in January 2010, opting not to wear the bathing suit of Customer Care and a brick-and-mortar Retail Store by selling the phone online ONLY, not locked into an particular Telecom Provider or its two (2) Postpaid Contract year or Prepaid Plan, effectively an unlocked smart phone with the customer left to chose their Network and Plan. This much the case with computers or any other electronics device is not purchased with a plan, a game changing move that encouraged Telecom Providers to compete for the affections of Google Nexus One customers – and got the shock of their little Google lives.

The lesson that the naked Emperor Google learned was as thus: using an online store to sell a smart phone is not a bad idea, as it saves on overheads, just that you cannot do it without Customer Care, which they promptly had to launch. Also, the mobile phone technology has to be able to work with both GSM and CDMA, otherwise effectively if you use only one mobile technology, you are locking yourself to either Sprint and Verizon (CDMA) or AT&T and T-Mobile (GSM). Making the Google Nexus one be wireless Broadband agnostic i.e. using both 3G and 4G, be it LTE (Long Term Evolution) or WiMax (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) via a Qualcomm chipset, is also a good idea. They also had to backtrack on the online store only concept, opting instead to sell the mobile phone via a retail chain like everyone else with T-Mobile support only, as the other carriers Verizon and Sprint got cold feet, in effect, competing against its other handsets makers running Google Android OS with its own smart phone.

All told, the Google Nexus One, after being endorsed by Linux founder Linus Torvald, who was not too crazy about smart phones until the Google Nexus One and then exposed as naked like the Emperor and his new clothes, managed to sell only one hundred and thirty five thousand (135,000) units in 74 days. A failure when compared to the Apple iPhone, which managed to reach one million (1,000,000) units in the same time period at the time of its debut back in 2007. It was not a flop, as Google Android Head of Development Andy Rubin was quoted as saying that they would only sell about “150,000 Nexus Ones”, effectively making the Google Nexus One more about trying a new business model to shake up the market, as opposed to beating the Apple iPhone, which Google Android is doing all by itself anyway. Thus the comeback of the Google Nexus One in August 2010, which is being spurred by Developers, who are snapping up the Google Android 2.2 powered smart phone like hotcakes in August of 2010, depleting Google inventory of smart phones, is not surprising. This prompted Google’s Tim Bray to state on Google’s Android Developers blog that Google, quote “blew through the (substantial) initial inventory in almost no time”, hinting quite succinctly at the possibility of more units to be ready for Christmas 2010.

Being an unlocked phone, it is effectively an Open Source unlocked electronics gadget that the Developers can tinker with, as nothing beats an unlocked phone selling at deal breaking prices. This is an indication that the concept of a smart phone not tied to a specific Network works and sold online is a good idea; just that Customer Care is still required. Hopefully the Nexus Two will also incorporate the above suggestions as it relates to the hardware, enabling it to be truly Network independent. Now rumours are swirling of the coming of a Samsung after Google staffers placed a gigantic Gingerbread man on Google’s front lawn. Will it be called Google Nexus Two? Made by Samsung, not HTC? Possibly running on Google Android OS 2.3 codenamed Gingerbread? So says the rumour mill already making the New Year look bright – and Apple CEO Steve Jobs possibly needing some soothing music to put him to bed at night. Stay tuned for more as this story develops.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.


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