Google launched its own cell phone, a device called the Nexus One, at a press conference in Mountain View, CA, on Tuesday. Designed and built by the Taiwanese handheld-device company HTC in partnership with Google, the phone is being sold through a new online store that will sell not only Nexus One but also future devices based on Android, Google’s mobile operating system. Consumers can buy the Nexus One on its own, or with a service plan on T-Mobile’s network.
Calling the device a “superphone,” Mario Queiroz, a vice president of product management at Google, said the company wanted to create a phone to demonstrate “what’s possible on mobile phones through the Android platform.”
Stressing that the Nexus One is actually the first in a series, Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president of mobile platforms, said that devices sold through Google’s online store will always demonstrate “the best possible Google experience.”
The Nexus One includes a one-gigahertz processor that’s faster than that of most smart phones on the market today (Verizon’s Droid, for example, has a 550-megahertz processor, and the iPhone’s processor is estimated to be around 600 megahertz). Other hardware specifications include a 3.7-inch display, a five-megapixel camera, light and proximity sensors, and dual microphones that allow for noise cancellation.
“With that hardware, we’ve think we’ve got half the story,” said senior product manager Eric Tseng. “With the Nexus One, it’s not just hardware alone.” Tseng noted that the Nexus One’s processor allows the phone to run multiple applications simultaneously without slowing down, and to support a new 3-D framework that comes with the 2.1 version of Android, which was also announced at the event.
Tseng demonstrated several applications that showcase the 3-D graphics of the Nexus One, including a full-featured version of Google Earth. The phone let him navigate through the popular mapping software in three dimensions, flying over areas and zooming in. “We really wanted to push the 3-D capabilities that you get with these high-end chips to their limits,” he said.