10 Google Nexus One Features You Need to Know

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-01-06

10 Google Nexus One Features You Need to Know

Prior to the unveiling of the Google Nexus One phone, hopes were high. Some believed the device would be available solely as an unlocked, yet affordable, smartphone. Others said it would feature multitouch gestures that could rival the Apple iPhone. Still others thought that Google's product would be an iPhone killer. Oh, how wrong they were.

Google's Nexus One is undoubtedly a good-looking device. But once one looks beyond the design and starts digging into its features, one might find that in some cases it's offering something new and in other cases it's woefully behind. And perhaps that's the lesson that can be learned from the Nexus One. To some, it might be exactly what they're looking for. To others, it might be just another reason to buy an iPhone. Simply put, Google's Nexus One is a standard case of trade-offs.

Let's find go over some pros and cons of the Nexus One.

1. It's available unlocked

Google's Nexus One phone isn't being offered only in an unlocked state, but there is an unlocked version available to those who want to bring the device to AT&T or any other GSM carrier. It's a nice option that should go a long way in appealing to customers who don't want to switch to another carrier just to get the latest mobile phone. Think of it as a shot over Apple's bow.

2. T-Mobile and Verizon are on board

There is a locked version of the Nexus One. For now, T-Mobile customers or those who are willing to switch to the service can get a Nexus One from that carrier at a steeply discounted price of $179. Google said Verizon Wireless and Vodafone are also on board to offer a discounted, locked version of the Nexus One, but that won't be happening until later in 2010.

3. It doesn't have multitouch

Those hoping to find a device that can compete on the same level as the iPhone may be a little disappointed by the Nexus One. Unlike Apple's smartphone, the Nexus One lacks multitouch. In other words, users won't be able to perform gestures like "pinch" to interact with on-screen applications. That is a glaring omission.

4. It has updated Android software

The Nexus One is running Android software that users won't find in other devices running that OS. That means it features some extras, like home screen customization and home screen panels that allow users to add shortcuts to the display. It also has a new feature called Live Wallpapers, which helps users customize the background image on their phones.

Nexus One Emerges as Less than Revolutionary

5. It will be one of many

According to Google, this first device is one of many devices that will be a part of the Nexus One program. The company said other phones that meet certain standards can use the Nexus One moniker. In other words, look for the Nexus One platform to be more than just a single device that was designed by HTC. There's no telling what could come from the Nexus One, but it's looking like that line of products will be the most full-featured of any Android devices on the market.

6. Where are all the apps?

Although the Nexus One has many new features that will set it apart from other Android devices, it still works with applications from Google's Android Marketplace. There's just one catch: Google's store has far fewer apps than Apple's App Store. As with other Android devices, that smaller selection of apps could prove to be a mark against the Nexus One.

7. Turn-by-turn directions for the traveler

One nice feature that Google brought to the Nexus One is a built-in GPS service that works on Google Maps. It also provides turn-by-turn directions. That's no small addition. In order for iPhone owners to have the same functionality, they're forced to pick up TomTom's app, which will set them back $99. Google's built-in GPS feature adds significant value to the device.

8. It's expensive

Unfortunately, the Nexus One is expensive. Unless users buy the device with a plan from T-Mobile for $179, they will be forced to shell out $529 for an unlocked version. Granted, that means users can put that device on an existing plan with a GSM carrier, but considering that the iPhone is available for much less, it might be a hard sell to some who don't want to use T-Mobile's service.

9. Tethering? Not so fast

Google said in its press announcement on Jan. 5 that tethering support, which lets you use your mobile phone to connect another computer to the Internet, is not currently available in the Nexus One. The company skirted the issue a bit in its question-and-answer session, but that omission could prove to be a problem for Google as it attempts to bring its devices to the enterprise. It should be noted that tethering is often a carrier issue, but it's a glaring omission, nonetheless. Hopefully Google or HTC will be able to add that feature in the future.

10. It's not revolutionary

In the end, the Nexus One is simply not revolutionary. Rumors swirled before its announcement about all the revolutionary features the device would offer. But when it came time to actually make the announcement, Google unveiled a device that, at least on paper, can't quite match the iPhone. And considering just how expensive it is and the state of the world economy, it might be tough for customers to justify spending $529 on a device that lacks so many integral options.

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