Layers of the onion that is the Nexus One Google phone continue to get peeled away by industry insiders, as Engadget Dec. 14 scored new pictures and details of the smartphone that will challenge Apple’s iPhone as a new GSM device.
Engadget said the device boasts microSD expansion, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and covers quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE with UMTS/HSUPA on 850/1,700/1,900 frequencies.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment on any of the details, pointing instead to the company’s blog post about how it gave its employees a phone, which seems to be the Nexus One, to test.
Only T-Mobile and AT&T, sole carrier of the iPhone, propel GSM in the United States, and AllThingsDigital said T-Mobile will indeed support the Nexus One. The device won’t work on Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
The device lacks a physical keyboard and was built by HTC, but there is no HTC logo. It is also apparently larger and thinner than those devices, perhaps coming close to the screen size of the Motorola Droid phone. The phone runs Android 2.1 (the Droid runs Android 2.0) on a Snapdragon chip and has two microphones.
Google also reportedly specified the smartphone’s software from the bottom up, and is geared to sell it unlocked online as well as possibly at Best Buy. Unlocked means users get to pick the service provider. These are perhaps the biggest factors prompting people to call this the Google Phone the world has been waiting on.
A new grid icon at the bottom of the home screen brings up a WebOS card-style preview of all home screen pages, according to Engadget, which offers more pictures here. Google Goggles and Google Maps Navigation are par for the course for this Android 2.1 device.
Some are accusing Google of hypocrisy after Google Android engineering chief Andy Rubin said in October Google would not build hardware, implying that Google would not produce its own phone.
However, the way facts around the Nexus One are shaping up-including that the device has been seeded among Google employees for dogfooding, or testing-it appears Rubin was telling the truth. Technically speaking, Google isn’t building the hardware; HTC is.
Google is merely deciding what it would like a mobile phone to have, putting it on the Nexus One and letting the market run with it. Carriers that support GSM and want to offer it to customers can.
However, big questions remain about the device’s cost. Will it be subsidized by Google? If not, will it cost $500, as such devices are wont to cost?
Moreover, how might this impact Google’s relationship with Verizon Wireless, whose Motorola Droid is selling well, or even Motorola, Samsung and others banking on or dabbling in Android?
In any case, the phone could solve some of the Android fragmentation issues plaguing the OS ecosystem, even as it ruffles feathers among carriers.