Tseng also showed off some sophisticated voice capabilities, building on voice software that Google has offered previously. In Android 2.1, any text field can accept voice input, which will allow users to compose e-mails, text messages, and Twitter and Facebook updates without touching the device. These tasks are handled by Google’s servers. Tseng added that the voice software becomes more accurate with each use.
Kevin Burden, head of ABI Research’s mobile-devices group, says that exciting software that takes full advantage of the one-gigahertz processor will be very important to the success of the Nexus One. “You have to think the reason Google is [launching its own phone] is that it has certain services in its own lab that need this type of processor.” For the Nexus One to take off, Burden says, “it has to be more than just a phone.”
Though the Google Earth application looks nice, Burden doesn’t believe it is substantially different from what’s already available for the iPhone.
Google’s online store now offers the phone for $529 without service, or for $179 with a T-Mobile contract. The company says it plans to add more devices and carriers as soon as possible. In particular, Verizon and Vodafone contracts will be available beginning in spring 2010, as will a version of Nexus One that runs on Verizon’s network.
Though T-Mobile is the only current official service plan for the Nexus One, Queiroz said a user could insert the SIM card from any network that uses the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), including AT&T. The catch, however, is that the phone doesn’t support the frequencies that AT&T uses for its high-speed 3G network, so a user would only be able to use the Nexus One on AT&T’s slower EDGE network.
In addition to executives from Google and HTC, Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola, which makes the Droid, appeared at the press conference. Jha said that the Droid will upgrade to the software that’s available for the Nexus One.