Posts Tagged ‘google’

The Nexus is a Lexus

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?

courtesy of engadget.com

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.

The Lexus LFA

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…

Touchscreen Handsets: the Future?

This story posted earlier today on Gizmodo with pictures of what appears to be a new Android handset from HTC. Tentatively dubbed the ‘G2’, it looks to be the successor to HTC’s T-Mobile G1 released earlier this year.

htcg22

looking at the two side-by-side, you can see that the menu section at the bottom has had a redesign, and the bezel at the bottom of the screen has gone (I think the screen is the same size as the one on the G1).

You may also notice that it looks a lot more glossy and curvaceous compared to the G1. On top of that, they’ve decided to scrap the QWERTY keypad that was present on the G1, and, in my opinion, made it one of the main reasons in people choosing it over the iPhone.

The world of mobile phone technology hasn’t really been the same since that little-known company in Cupertino came out with the iPhone. It sold 4.4m units in the Q4 of 2008 alone, and it has quite an impressive share of the smartphone pie:

It easily claims over 25% of the smartphone market share – despite not having a QWERTY keypad and not even supporting Cut & Paste!

Ever since the phone came out there have been countless copies and some strong competitors, but none have gotten close… yet. This year Nokia are set to release their superb looking N-Series N97, and Palm surprised a lot of people at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month with the announcment of the Palm Pre.

These two new handsets aim to achieve the best of both worlds, by including touch interfaces and QWERTY keyboards. But is that too many input options? It’s not so bad on the G1 because you can use the mechanical buttons for everything if you wish and it doesn’t feature a touch keypad.

Does the rise of touch interfaces on mobile phones mean the end for the traditional mechanical side of things? Will we only see more than three buttons on the high-end/business-oriented smartphones? If this is to be the case, then I think it’s about time that people looked for revolution, or even evolution, as opposed to blatant plagarism of competitors models.