No.158 (2/26/10)

Google enters the smartphone market with Nexus One

By Robert Finley
Chief Writer

On January 5, the smartphone market became much more competitive with the debut of Google's Nexus One, the latest smartphone to challenge Apple's iPhone domination. It might seem strange that Google would enter the cell phone production business in the first place. Founded in 1998, Google was originally just an alternative Web search engine to the massively popular ones out at the time, such as Yahoo. As their popularity boomed in the 00s, Google expanded their services and products, eventually creating popular services such as Google Maps, Gmail, and many others. Many of you might even have Gmail accounts, in fact. In short, Google has gone from a simple search engine to a global internet leader.

What exactly is a smartphone? Living overseas may leave some of you out of the loop. A smartphone is simply an enhanced cell phone, acting more like a tiny PC than a traditional cell phone. Video, GPS, surfing the net, and much more are all features that are significantly enhanced on smartphones. Since 2007, the Apple iPhone has been arguably the most popular smartphone on the market, but that assertion is going to be challenged in the months to come with Google entering the cell phone business. A popular feature of smartphones is the use of applications, or apps. Countless apps exist for smartphones, with new ones coming out every day. Apps can be anything from games to maps to calendars and much more.

Google's Nexus One is clearly inspired by the Apple iPhone's design, but often the phone takes things one step further. For example, the phone’s dimensions are 4.7 inches (h), 2.35 inches (w), and 0.45 inches (d). This is slightly smaller than the iPhone, which measures in at 4.55 inches (h), 2.44 inches (w), and 0.48 inches (d). Not much of a difference, but slimmer nonetheless. Nexus One utilizes the Android mobile operating system, which is a slick OS that debuted in 2007 and is currently found on a variety of cell phones. Android enables the phone to sync up with all of Google’s applications, in the same way that the iPhone syncs up with the typical Mac OS X applications.

A major selling point that could possibly push the Nexus One's popularity past that of the iPhone is its ability to be purchased unlocked. Currently, the iPhone is only available with AT&T cell phone service. Nexus One, however, can be purchased for a starting price of $529 unlocked, or through T-Mobile with a subsidized price offered to those who enter into a 2-year contract with the company. The unlocked phone available now only works with cell phones that use SIM cards, although a CDMA version of the Nexus One will be available by the springtime.

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