Consumers must buy Google Nexus One smartphone from Google's Web store unlocked for $529, or pay $179 with a two-year service contract from T-Mobile. This smartphone-as-a-service (call it the new SAAS) strategy is something of a new SAAS model for Google, though it follows models from Dell and Amazon.com. Analysts wonder whether Google's gamble that consumers will buy phones from them "site unfelt" will pay off. eWEEK is also curious. What do readers think about Google's Web store model? Will it fly or go dry?
Press and analysts who convened at Google's Mountain View,
Calif., headquarters for the Nexus One
launch event Jan. 5 got a special treat after the show proceedings
wrapped: a free, unlocked Nexus One GSM smartphone.
The Nexus One is an HTC-made smartphone fitted with
Android 2.1 operating system, and loads of snazzy software features, such as
the ability to enter text into e-mail, Facebook and other fields just by
The rest of the world cannot go to a store and but the Nexus
One. Consumers must buy the phone from Google's
here unlocked for $529, or pay $179 with a two-year service contract
This smartphone-as-a-service (call it the new SAAS) strategy
is something of a new SAAS model for Google, though it
from Dell and Amazon.com.
eWEEK caught up via phone with Gartner's Ken Dulaney and
Forrester Research's Charles Golvin, two leading industry analysts who attended
the event and left with free Nexus One devices.
Just hours after the event, Dulaney praised the device:
"It's an excellent device. I think it will compare
favorably from a hardware standpoint with the iPhone. It's got a tremendous
screen, a good form factor. Maybe about the only downside I would see is the
trackball. The reason RIM went away from it is that it tends to collect dust
and get a bit sticky. But that's not a big deal. The screen is big and
beautiful. The camera is great. The performance is great, there's a lot of good
apps in there."
So, how does it stack up against the Motorola Droid, the
device with which Engadget compared
the Nexus One. Dulaney added:
"I would say that if you have a Droid and a Nexus
One next to each other at a Verizon store, the Nexus One gets the bulk of the
business. Motorola went with the keyboard and the keyboard typically appeals to
the lower end consumer who spends a lot of time in text because when you go
from phone mode to text mode you're always closing the keyboard, switching it
back into portrait mode. There's a lot of mechanics there that don't make sense
if you're balanced between voice and text."
However, Dulaney said the Droid will be fine
because it could be six months before the Nexus One shows up on Verizon's
network, giving the Droid the traditional kicker that any phone has to sell.
He also said Verizon desperately needs the Nexus One
because they need an Apple iPhone lookalike to keep subscribers from going to
AT&T for the hallowed iPhone experience.