The Nexus One won’t tempt me away from the iPhone

It’s Jonathan Mulholland here once again!

Like most mobile geeks, I’m really enjoying all the Google Nexus One news; it’s starting to sound like a very nice device, and it’s obviously a very interesting move by Google. Seeing their vision of what a modern mobile device should be — and how far Google feel they can push their services into our pockets will be fascinating to see.

I’ve already pretty much decided that I’m going to give the Nexus One / HTC Passion — or whatever it ends up being called — a miss though. Not because I’m a total Apple fanboy, or because I’m one of those crazies worried about giving Google too much access to my data – I’m a very heavy user of all of Google’s services, and have been ever since I opened my first Gmail account back in 2005.

Why the reluctance then?  Android has many positives – mobile Gmail is great, Google Maps on Android is better than on iPhone, multitasking rocks and Android’s notification system is just plain brilliant.  But at the end of the day – from my experience (G1, HTC Magic and HTC Hero) – Android is actually a pretty sucky phone.

I think Ewan hit the nail on the head yesterday:

My biggest concern with Google is their apparent inability to bring anything to market that is actually ready for consumers to use. I’m talking, of course, about the perennial ‘beta’ labels that populate their technology. This beta policy makes a ton of sense — and I think the majority of geeks like me are thoroughly delighted to see the company make frequent updates to their services. I wonder, then, how they’re reacting to delivering a physical product that can’t be changed.

To say that the Android phone experience is a bit unpolished (even when tarted up by HTC) would be a massive complement; take the iPhone away from your ear to “press option 3 to speak to an advisor” and the screen lights up ready for use – easy!  Try the same trick with an HTC Hero and the screen will have locked.  Go to press the phones usual screen unlock key and you’ll often have killed the call.   It’s this kind of thoughtfulness that I think Android phones will always lack, mainly because Android devs don’t have a maniacal Steve Jobs standing over them yelling – “not good enough, do it again.”

The iPhone might have limitations — and the App approval process does appear to make some rather perverse decisions — but Apple’s rigid control of the platform undoubtedly makes it slicker.  We had to wait far too long for ‘copy and paste’ to appear, but when it did it was perfect.  Does any other device honestly have this feature implemented as well as the iPhone?

I’m also rather dubious about one of the Nexus One’s really big selling points — availability as a carrier unlocked device.  If this is true I really applaud the move, it could be a watershed moment for the telco industry, but I’m just not sure Google will be able to pull this off.  They don’t have consumer goods distribution experience; I suppose they could rely on HTC’s sales channels, but this would be a really big ask.   Google has previously given away unlocked Android devices to developers only, could they be dong the same with the Nexus One, planning to release the device to the public via one of the carriers (my money would be on T-Mobile)?

Then there is my final nagging doubt; good as the Nexus One may be, in my mind it’s really a second generation future mobile device (1st gen = iPhone, 2nd gen = iPhone 3G/3GS).   I’m sure it will stack up well against the iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre etc, but really we’re still watching Android play catch-up.

I still predict that the really big mobile news of 2010 will be the major update Apple announces to the iPhone platform in June, so for the meantime I’m sticking with Apple.

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13 Responses to The Nexus One won’t tempt me away from the iPhone

  1. Nitin December 15, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    “The iPhone might have limitations — and the App approval process does appear to make some rather perverse decisions — but Apple’s rigid control of the platform undoubtedly makes it slicker. We had to wait far too long for ‘copy and paste’ to appear, but when it did it was perfect. Does any other device honestly have this feature implemented as well as the iPhone?”

    Yes – UIQ on Symbian does copy and paste fantastically well, and have done since 2003. Shame it had to die a death though. I really think that as a touch UI it was well ahead of its time.

  2. An Droid December 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Don't know man but you are sounding like a fanboy 😉
    BTW Google's products all worked just fine even if they still said Beta on them.

  3. Booger December 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    No one gives a damn about you and your old POS iphone Jonathan…

  4. UriPhoneBlows December 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Why we dont care. Because basically anything that threatens apple in anyway apple lovers will try to find reasons to down whatever that product may be. Android is taking over get over. Your Mac Blows!!!!

  5. Jon Mulholland December 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    That's a good point Nitin, UIQ was way ahead of it's time; I have very found memories of my SonyEricsson p900 and p910i. I don't miss the tiny stylus though!

  6. Jon Mulholland December 15, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    Fair enough – I am an Apple fan, but not a totally blind loyal fanboy. I do actually currently own a HTC Hero, I just find that I prefer my iPhone and keep coming back to it because of the 'polish'.

    There are several features Android has I wish we could see on the iPhone – drop down notifications in particular. I just think tha Ewan is right though – beta is fine for the web, just not for mass Market consumer products like mobile phones.

  7. Ewan December 16, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    Gahh don't mention styli!

  8. Ewan December 16, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    Aye!

  9. oliver December 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Sorry, but from my very personal experience, the iphone has a rubbish reception and an even worse call quality. And t-mobile in Germany has a very fine network, no matter if 2G or 3G.

    Obviously, others feel the same way: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/0,39029453,4930

    Maybe Steve Jobs believes the iphone is “good enough”. It always depends on your demands.

    And by the way, there is one phone that implements “copy and paste” at least as well as the iphone imho: the palm pre. From day one.

  10. oliver December 16, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    Sorry, but from my very personal experience, the iphone has a rubbish reception and an even worse call quality. And t-mobile in Germany has a very fine network, no matter if 2G or 3G.

    Obviously, others feel the same way: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/0,39029453,4930

    Maybe Steve Jobs believes the iphone is “good enough”. It always depends on your demands.

    And by the way, there is one phone that implements “copy and paste” at least as well as the iphone imho: the palm pre. From day one.

  11. tnkgrl (Myriam) December 25, 2009 at 7:16 am #

    I disagree with your assessment that Android is not ready for prime-time. That was true at some point, but have you used the Motorola Droid (Milestone) with Android 2.0? It's leaps and bounds better than any Android device before it…

    Ultimately, I think you're missing the point here. The Nexus One is not just another nice HTC phone running Android, it's a Google phone made by HTC. It's Google's way of dealing with the fragmentation that is starting to plague Android!

    It's Google way of teaching by example, and of showcasing the platform by controlling not just the services and OS, but by dictating the hardware, just like Apple is doing with the iPhone, albeit in a significantly more open and flexible way.

    And, having used the Nexus One, let me tell you this – it's phenomenal, and as a geek, good luck resisting it 🙂

  12. tnkgrl (Myriam) December 25, 2009 at 7:21 am #

    As I mentioned above, the HTC Hero is not an adequate representation of the current state of Android – the Motorola Droid (Milestone) and the Nexus One are (ie. Android 2.x)…

    Let me put is this way: I stopped carrying my iPhone 3GS after I started using the Droid review unit (that I still have). This never happened to me before, not even with the awesome N900!

    Before the Droid, Android felt like an experiment to me. The Nexus One is going to leave phones like the Pre in the dust, and give the others a wake-up call.

  13. USB 3G November 17, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    Well, interesting post,
    thanks!

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