Hear me out on this one.
When Google finally released ‘their’ very own phone, the Nexus One, today, the internet was awash with talk of how Google have finally rose up to Apple and are ready to take the iPhone head-on. It’s all very impressive, but why do I feel like anybody who’s rushed ahead and bought one has been taken for a bit of a mug?
Ever since the first shaky leaked photo hit the internet, the main focus has always been on the software itself. I defy anybody to say that the Nexus One (pictured above, courtesy of engadget) is the best-looking device they’ve ever seen. It looks very plastic and, to be honest, prototype-ish. It gives me the same impression as the Nokia N82 in terms of its design, it just looks unfinished. It has to also be said that Google haven’t actually made the hardware: it has been built to specification by HTC, already the leading manufacturer of Android handsets.
I get the feeling that the device is being pushed as an engineering statement. They want to show the world what they can do with the next stages of the Android platform, and they also want to introduce a new way of buying devices – Google Checkout. The phone comes SIM-Free for the time being, with subsidies via network carriers coming in Spring 2010. They have also set up target shipping to the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong. At $529 (roughly £330 excluding shipping costs) it can be a pretty big gamble to those interested in buying it.
This is where my slightly strange link with a Japanese car manufacturer comes in. Recently, Lexus – well known for making bland, albeit exquisite luxury cars – surprised a lot of people by bringing out a supercar. No, really.
It’s called the Lexus LFA. With around 550 bhp and a top speed of 202 mph, it’s clearly very impressive. Also impressive is the way they’ve made a V10 engine take up the same size of a V8, with the weight of a V6. Every part of the car is tweaked to make it as aerodynamic as possible. But at £340,000 not a lot of people are going to be driving it, and Lexus still aren’t going to make any money on it. So what is the point in its existance?
Well, much like the Nexus One, the Lexus LFA, I feel, has been created to show the world what their respective teams can come up with. Google with its software, and Lexus with its engineering. We’ll surely be seeing their USPs in other things in the near future. Especially so with Android, as the Nexus is only running 2.1 of the OS, meaning sooner or later it will be available to every Android handset out there. At this moment in time the Nexus One is a simple showcase of what is to come.
If you buy one now, you’ll kick yourself when the Nexus Two comes along. You heard it here first…