So, as I told you before, my buddy Ken bought a Nexus One. Yes, he is still looking to trade it off for a BlackBerry Bold 9700, and now he has opened up to an Apple iPhone 3GS. He must have read my blog post. 🙂
Now, on the eve of the Nexus One slinking off into the night, I am going to give my impressions of Google’s attempt at transforming themselves into Apple.
The specs are undeniable, and the phone is a technological juggernaut; 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 3.7″ AMOLED display, stupid high resolution. To hold one in your hand is to know that you’re holding something very powerful. The build quality is there, as is a real feeling of weight and substance. This really has more to do with HTC than Google. HTC was commissioned to build the ultimate Android device, and they succeeded. No one has a problem with the hardware.
Now we get into software gripes. The Nexus One is fast, as it should be with the mobile processing equivalent of a 492ci Hemi under the screen. It’s smooth with the transitions between screens, as well. But it’s not
The iPhone is
If Google was targeting the iPhone with this device, they missed on that count (and others, which I’ll get into later).
Android has its good points. Universal search is cool. Voice search is cool. Of course, these are really no brainers for a company that has built its entire reputation and market share on the idea of search.
There are useful apps in the Android Market; “Where” comes to mind. There is pure integration with Google Apps such as Calendar and GMail. Again, these are things that should be no-brainers for Google, and all Android phones share these points.
Yes, there are useful apps in the Android Market, but there are just as many bad apps. This is why Apple’s police state known as the App Store is so successful. Every app that makes it into the App Store is built to work on an iPhone (or iPod Touch). A lot of apps don’t make it. Every app that does make it has a consistent feel and appearance.
Compare that with the Android Market. There is no global design standard, so developers can make their apps look any way they want. While this is a freedom that I’m sure Apple developers would like to have, this takes away from the “finished” feel of the app and the platform it’s running on. Google embraces the “open” concept, and for that they should be commended, but hewing to it too much hinders appearance and sense of cohesiveness.
Remember how I said that my buddy Ken has a Nexus One? He was so kind to as compile a list of things that he hates about the device:
While that last one is kind of superfluous, the other beefs are, in my opinion, quite legitimate (except for the first #2. Google makes it clear that you can’t use AT&T’s 3G network on the Nexus One). And yes, there are two #2’s on his list.
The world didn’t need the Nexus One. The world didn’t need a flagship Android phone before Android was fully-assed. Right now, Google has put forth a half-assed effort at making a smartphone operating system. The best Android phone out right now, the HTC Hero (Don’t come to me with that DROID crap. The DROID is a Nexus One with a keyboard.), runs a highly customized version of Android that integrates the applications and standardizes the interface.
Google shouldn’t need HTC to put their own user interface over Android to make it digestible. Alas, it seems like that’s the way Google will have to go. If someone ripped my BlackBerry out of my hands, shot it to pieces, and put the still-smoldering barrel on my head and asked me to pick either a Nexus One or an HTC Hero, I would ask him for the HTC Hero.