in interaction design

Nexus One: I’ve had one for a couple weeks

I can finally announce it publicly: I’ve had a Nexus One for the past couple weeks. While I played with it a bit, I never used it extensively, as I didn’t want to put my iPhone’s SIM card in it, and I didn’t have any other SIM cards lying around.

The Nexus One is a perfectly solid offering in this touchscreen-smartphone space. Its interaction and interface design are quite good. I love the Maps app, which essentially can operate just like an in-car turn-by-turn GPS navigation device, with the added benefit of Google Street View, so you can be quite positive your turning at the right spot.

I’m very interested in leaving Apple and AT&T, and the Nexus One could very much be that new phone for me. I am not really reliant on any non-standard iPhone apps, so the transition shouldn’t be too hard. But, at this point, I’m not ready to make the change, for two primary reasons:

  1. Podcasts. The thing I do most with my iPhone is listen to podcasts. And I’ve become quite reliant on the “2x” playback feature of podcasts. Google’s Listen app does not offer double-speed playback. I suppose I could turn my iPhone into an iPod touch and use the Nexus One for other things, but having two glass bricks on me at all times seems unnecessary.
  2. Desktop software configuration. Or rather, the lack of it. With Nexus One, you have to do all your configuration on the phone, or within various Google Apps. There is no iTunes equivalent for the Nexus One. I believe this is a huge mistake. Anyone owning a Nexus One is likely to own a computer with a USB port. Why not let me use my computer, with it’s bigger screen, easier text entry, etc, etc, to configure my Nexus One? I’ve said it many times – iTunes was the secret of iPod’s success, and is quite significant in iPhone’s success. Having to do everything on the Nexus One’s screen is a pain and it kind of angers me that Google hasn’t seen fit to release software to make the configuration easier. (If you’re not beholden to Apple/iTunes the way I am, this might not be an issue. Or, if you’re an extensive Google tool user (Gmail. Google Calendar, etc.), it might not end up mattering to you, as you can get all that information onto the Nexus One pretty easily.)

All that said, if I could get a $60/mo plan on T-Mobile for the NexusOne (which is what I currently play AT&T, as I’m grandfathered in with my first-gen iPhone), I would have to seriously consider the switch. However, it looks like the minimum price of the necessary T-Mobile plan is $80/mo, which is kind of a non-starter for me. I would even consider $70/mo with unlimited SMS and data.

I am happy that there is now a legitimate competitor to iPhone/AT&T, and one that is not beholden to a particular carrier. I hope this finally leads to some competition in the pricing of service plans.

  1. Google is moving down in the stack to challenge B2C opponents with an open architecture and new sets of standards. In creating a post-revenue business model, Google can only manage success if consumers accept a co-branding and outsourced manufactured device … NQ Logic recommends reading about the rest of the new Google’s mobile strategy at

  2. Advantage consumer. We now have an era of increasing competition in the smart-phone arena which will bring plenty of new features, plans and lowering prices.

    The question I have is simply how long will it take? Google has deep enough pockets to stick it out — so Apple will be very motivated to innovate.

  3. I agree with you. Even after less than 24 hours of N1 ownership, I can see that I will not be retiring my iPhone as originally planned. At best, it raises the bar for Apple. The only aspects of the N1 that I like better than the iPhone are the faster processor and higher MP camera with LED flash.

    I feel the N1 is very rough around the edges compared to the highly refined iPhone. For example, while listening to music while driving my car, the arrival of an incoming email causes the music to momentarily silence while the incoming email notification sound plays. Steve Jobs probably would have tossed it out the car window right then and there (maybe stopping to run it over a few times). To resolve this, I had to select the Silent ringtone for notifications (that doesn’t do me any good when I am not listening to music). I shouldn’t even have to use the headphone jack to play mucic through my car’s system. The line out using the iPhone dock port is far superior.

    Thankfully, the N1 is fetching a premium on eBay because the international retail price of the N1 is higher than in the US. I may make a few bucks off my N1 instead of paying for return postage and a $45 restocking fee to Google.

  4. Well said. Me too. I am stuck with iphone for same reason Podcasts & Desktop software configuration.

    I agree 100%. iTune is the backbone for success of iPhone and iPod. It is so critical to have iTune equivalent in NEXUS for NEXUS success. I wish Google listen to this otherwise I don’t think anything in the earth could replace iPhone.

  5. itunes is the most horrible sortware package,ever. why would anyone want to copy it???? use all the integrated google apps on your pc. i had all my contacts sync’d, calendar entries synced and email entries, facebook and twitter accounts up and running inside an hour. an even taken from another manufacturers phone (Nokia). if you deem to look outside the apple world you’ll find there’s another happier place where you don’t need to look only in one direction.

  6. @leigh I think you’re overstating how much of an alternative Google is. As far as I understand, making full use of the phone *requires* a Google account. How is that different from Apple *requiring* iTunes? How does that translate into more than one direction?

    Open sounds great and dandy, but when it comes to choosing phones by OS, it makes for a lot of uncertainty. If I bought into a Droid in December, measuring by the OS, it’s obsolete in January. If I bought an iPhone in June, I have a really good chance of not seeing it surpassed for a year, which makes me more willing to plunk down the cash & contract.

    Android is shaping up to be a worthy competitor, but I think the ‘open dust’ is clouding a lot of the judgement around it.

  7. I’ve had my N1 for just over a week now and for me one of the great things about it is that I don’t have to sync it with a computer to make it work. This is especially true for podcasts – I have downloaded Beyondpod from the Market. Also because it can run in the background I can listen and browse at the same time. Seems to me that both N1 & iphone are great bits of kit, really comes down to personal preference.

Comments are closed.