It’s Jan. 5th, and you know what that means. Yup, Google’s Android press conference is set to go off in a matter of minutes. The topic of the day? More likely than anything else we can think of, the Google Nexus One Android phone will be today’s focus. We’ve already seen handfuls of Nexus One photos, videos and hands-on demos. We even know, for the most part, the Nexus One’s feature set – 1Ghz processor, 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, GPS, WiFi, Android 2.1 OS. So, what else is left?
The official announcement, of course.
We’ll be live blogging the event, so make sure to keep refreshing this post for the latest hit-by-hit coverage of the Google Android press conference:
Still waiting for the press conference to kick off.
History of Android for context
Announcing 52 OHA members and new members today
Talking about how the T-Mobile (NYSE: DT) G1 took smartphone use to a whole new level – integration, cloud computing, etc.
The T-Mobile myTouch3G was the next gen Android phone. Google developed contacts API among others to make integration with Google seamless.
In order to prevent fragmentation of the platform, Google launch compatibility test suite. Also invested in strategic partnerships with manufacturers and carriers.
Google has seen a 5x increase in mobile searches. Alludes to Android driving a lot of that growth in mobile browsing.
Want to give back to users, developers, ecosystem to create a better user experience. Good for users, Good for Internet, Good for Google.
“Under the leadership and vision of Andy Rubin, there’s been a lot of progress.”
Android is available under the most progressive and open source licensing schemes today.
Android allows background processing.
Next step in Android evolution.
But Google still wants to do more in the Android space. What if we work even more closely with our partners to bring devices to market that showcase the great software technology here at Google.
Today we’re announcing the Nexus One!
Peter Chou getting on stage to show off the Nexus One
Chou: Nexus One is slim, great display, makes pictures crisp, 1Ghz Snapdragon processor makes it easy to bring the Nexus One Android experience to the consumer.
Nexus One pushes the limit of what’s possible on a mobile phone today.
More in depth demo of the Nexus One
First the hardware:
3.7-inch OLED display
1Ghz processor - less slowdown
Trackball is great for navigation, but also a notification device. LEDs under trackball lights up.
Light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, GPS sensors are of course standard.
It’s really thin. 11.2 mm – about as thin as a No. 2 pencil
5-megapixel camera with LED flash, also records high-res videos. Background syncs to Picassa and one-click upload to YouTube.
Audio is also important – Stereo A2DP Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack that supports headset functionality.
Something new to Android – Active noise supression with dual-mic setup
Noise suppression is awesome!
Metallic band on back can be engraved during checkout.
Integration with Google features is key.
New innovations in software. Customization is the theme here.
Homescreen concept was merged with widget idea. Google then added homescreen panels that allow you to add multiple widgets to the homescreen.
Want to take customization even further.
Nexus One introduces the concept of live wallpaper. Wallpaper is animated. Water ripples, leaves move, etc. The live wallpaper is reactive/interactive. Touch the water background and it ripples.
The live wallpaper leverages a new 3D architecture that Google is using to push the 3D capabilities of high-end chipsets. 3D concepts are important to Android.
New twist on App launcher. All apps are sitting on a scroll wheel. No longer an applications tray.
New photo viewer using Cool Iris technology. Photos scroll by on a 3D surface. Accelerometer support allows you to tilt photos.
Can view photos in cluster view based on time, date and location.
Next up is voice experience.
Google launched voice guidance/voice command with Motorola DROID’s Android 2.0 OS. (Turn-by-turn navigation)
Voice recognition gets better with training.
Now, with Android 2.1 OS, all text fields are voice enabled. Speak your tweets, speak your text message. It’s voice keyboard.
Demonstration of voice input gets applause.
Sneak peak at Google Earth for Android.
Google Earth for Android actually does the Bird’s Eye view and allows you to fly around – just like the desktop!
Google Earth will be available soon in Android Market.
App works with voice commands.
Nexus One is first of a series of “superphones” to come from Google through partner manufacturers.
Today, Google is announcing the new way to purchase a mobile phone – Google Hosted Webstore. Goal is to provide an efficient way to connect users with select Android devices. Simplicity is key. Simple delivery, simple startup.
Starting today, you can buy the Nexus One at google.com/phone – either at a discount with T-Mobile plan or unlocked. Will open soon today.
This is what the store looks like:
You can explore the phone in 3D, check out features, etc.
Next screen is purchase screen. $530 gets you an unlocked Nexus One. $180 gets you discount with T-Mobile service.
You do it all from the website.
You can buy your phone with or without service today. Again – $530 with no contract, $180 with contract.
You need a Google account to buy a Nexus One. Uses Google Checkout.
Before you checkout, you can add a personal engraving to the back of the Nexus One.
Last step is to check terms of sale and checkout.
Google Hosted Webstore launches in US. Shipping to three text markets.
Google Hosted Webstore is a new way to buy an Android phone.
Nexus One is the first of series of superphones.
Google is “psyched” about the Nexus One.
Time for a video:
We are now in the Q&A.
Sanjay Jha of Motorola is apparently on the way – stuck in traffic.
Scoble: Why only 512MB for app storage?
Answer: Effectively your storage space will only be limited by the SD card.
Q: Does it ship today?
Any GSM SIM card will work on the phone. 3G compatibility is specific to each carrier. (In other words, Nexus One will only do EDGE on AT&T (NYSE: T))
Q: Is the Nexus One a viable alternative, is it an iPhone killer?
A: Choice for consumers is the thing. We’re calling it a superphone. Choice is a really good thing. One of the best phones. – Not an answer.
Q: Unlocked phone – does it come from HTC’s inventory?
A: Google is merchant, buying from Google. HTC is the manufacturer. Google is working with HTC to manage logistics. (He dodged the question a bit)
Q: App store is very important to your future, how will you make the Android Market a bigger part of the Android experience.
A: Improving Android Market usability and visibility is all about marketing. Google is working on that.
Q: Why was it necessary for Google to design the phone? Why not just an HTC-designed phone with the new Android OS on top?
A: HTC built the phone. Google is just merchandising it, selling on the website. Working with HTC, the Nexus One is first with Android 2.1 OS.
Q: Will these new features be coming to Motorola DROID?
A: Everyone will get the new features soon.
“This is early stage of a longer journey, and there’s more to come.”
Q: Can you go into detail about how Google will make a dent in the mobile phone retail market?
A: We shouldn’t focus on retailing. This is about a complete solution. It’s about working closely with handset partners. Get phone out to consumers quickly and give them choice to buy a phone with or without service. We spent a lot of time to ensure integrity of purchasing process through Google Hosted Webstore. It won’t replace other channels.
Q: Does Google get a piece of each Nexus One sale?
A: Obviously, primary business is advertising. (Dodges question, alludes to making more money off advertising) Admits that there is an opportunity to make money off the phone, but that’s not the point with the Nexus One.
Q: Will it support tethering and WiFi?
A: WiFi is a go, but tethering is something we’re looking into.
Q: How are you anticipating the flood of data with the Nexus One?
A: You have the choice to decide which network you want to use, so network overload is less an issue. As ecosystem evolves around 4G, there will be more phones to take advantage, more solutions to keep up with data demand.
Q: Does the Nexus One’s lack of keyboard signal the death of a physical keyboard?
A: What HTC believes is that different people have different preferences. What’s best fit for them is the best choice. Nexus One design focuses on screen, form-factor. Has one of the best on-screen keyboard experiences. There’s also voice input, and giving consumers a choice is important. If consumers are interested in different form-factors, Google will look at that as options for future “superphones.”
Q: Will we be seeing Google become a retailer of other products?
A: Google is looking at other mobile phones that we will consider offering. Jokes about selling small cars and lava lamps.
Q: Will Nexus One will support multi-touch internationally? Since the Milestone supports multi-touch and Droid doesn’t.
A: We can’t comment on that. We leave the option open on that. It’s essentially a software thing. We’ll consider it.
Q: Any idea when Google Voice app will launch publicly?
Q: Is there something more awesome than the Nexus One coming in future months?
A: Technology moves very very fast. Nexus One is best out there right now. There will be more phones, but no comment as to what. There will be more phones in the future coming from Google, based on what users are interested in. Focus is to innovate on software experience.
Sanjay Jha still not here. Notice the empty seat?
Q: Why put all of Google behind a phone that is more the same? It can’t support GSM and CDMA at the same time. Pricing structure is boring. Who’s going to roll out an ad-supported phone if not Google?
A: We think pricing plan is exciting. We’re really good at iterating. Before you can revolutionize the world, keying in on new technologies, is to setup the baby steps. Let’s get the online store going. Let’s fill it with the best products. The future will reveal more.
Q: Most consumers like to test a phone before buying. How important is the physical retail aspect. Will you have a physical hands-on experience available at T-Mobile stores?
A: We wanted to remain pure and simple initially. We’re marketing in an online only way. We’ll try to get you as close to the phone as possible, and there’s always options of more in the future. So far no hands-on previews.
Q: Nexus One is a superphone, so what is the differentiation between superphones and smartphones.
A: The more memory, Ghz processor, webstore, more Android features. We needed a new term to describe these new innovations. Nexus One is just as powerful as a laptop of a few years ago, so superphone is fitting.
Q: Will Verizon version support both CDMA and GSM?
A: Very focused on offering the options to roam multiple networks worldwide.
Sanjay Jha just arrived.
Q: Sanjay, aren’t you afraid that the Nexus One will cannibalize Droid sales?
A: I think both phones are good phones. Droid will be upgraded to the Android 2.1 OS. We will deliver good products subsequent to Nexus One.
Q: A lot of people are saying that Google’s Nexus One will give competition to partners.
A: Direct to consumer channel is another option to bring product to consumers as quickly as possible. I think we just see this as another way to allow consumers to buy devices. It’s just an expansion of the marketplace. It’s good to have several players with different offerings and different innovations. Competition is healthy for the industry – makes it better.
Q: Will Nexus One be offered on Verizon and Vodafone?
A: Yes both carriers.
Q: Will Nexus One be offered unlocked on Verizon and Voda?
A: Vodafone will be sold with the same model we’re using for the US launch – unlocked and subsidized. Verizon version will be sold through Verizon. (Basically implies that Verizon Nexus One will not be unlocked)
That wraps the Q&A! Lunch and Nexus One here we come!