Does the Nexus One do it for you?

The Nexus One handset has been hailed, by those able to handle one of the new units, as a rival to the iconic iPhone. But these are early days for a device--unfortunately labelled a superphone by Google--given the following the Apple handset has achieved in its relatively short lifetime.

So is this new Google phone about to shake up the established smartphone market, or push forward and create a fresh battlefield where the iPhone might struggle to compete?

In an attempt to boil down some of the reviews, here's a summary from people that have the job of punching the keyboard/screens of new handsets.

  • TechCrunch went somewhat overboard and said it is the best Android powered phone to date. It is the fastest and most elegant smartphone on the market today, and solidly beats the iPhone in most ways. The reviewer rated the screen as bright and alive, and an absolute pleasure to use. However, it criticised the Nexus One for being a battery hog, and poor even by iPhone standards.
  • CNET News was more relaxed and questioned whether the Nexus One is groundbreaking. However, it did rate the noise cancellation and voice control, both very cool, apparently; and the handset has nice integration with online services like Google Maps and Facebook. On the downside, the phone is not revolutionary the way the iPhone was.
  • Engadget believed the Nexus One is little more than just another Android smartphone, albeit a particularly good one - but not in any way Earth-shattering. The unit feels small and neater than the Apple handset, with the camera and Gallery app a big plus point. Negatives are the OLED screen which has problems with colour balance, and, while the phone is fast, it is not so much of a leap up from the Droid that they were expecting.
  • TechRadar dismissed the hype surrounding the Google device and rated it awesome. It thought the size of the handset is perfect for mobile internet and content usage, with Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor providing good performance. It criticised the Nexus One for not including multi-touch pinch and zoom, and the overall lack of cool tricks.

I guess the result is that it's good, but not an easy winner over the iPhone. But does it need to be? Or, can Google bring sufficient added value in terms of apps and services to drag attention away from Apple's trendsetter onto something new, such as the Nexus One?

It'll be fascinating to watch. -Paul

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