Rant: Google needs to continue the Nexus project

Many of you have recently read that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has decided that there will be no successor to the Nexus One. I’m saddened by this, and I hope the company changes their mind.

Here’s why the Google Nexus One was, and still is, important, and why the company needs to continue the Nexus project:

1. So you failed to change how mobile phones are sold in America. A majority of folks still buy their devices with subsidies from their operator. What do you expect during times like this, when the economy is in bad shape, and 1 out of every 10 Americans are unemployed? Also, there’s absolutely no excuse as to why you can’t have a European website so that people from any country in the EU can order an unlocked Nexus One. In a few years things will bounce back, and the trends are already pointing towards a greater amount of phones being sold today are smartphones. Not feature phones. Keep the store up. Unlocked is a choice that few people are willing to make, but the ones that do need to have some sort of official outlet to get their fix.

2. You pushed the bar when no one else would. I’ve got no doubt in my mind that 1 GHz processors, 512 MB of RAM, and 800 x 480 pixels screen would have come sooner rather than later, but you made it happen faster. You primed the pump. Now all the manufacturers are in a cock fight with regards to screen size. Who is going to be the first to pull the trigger on dual core? Who is going to make a device that uses a higher resolution screen? Who is going to make NFC a reality?

3. I’m running Android 2.2 and I love it, and you know what, it’s going to be at least several months until someone with an Android device that isn’t a Nexus One can say that. One of the primary factors that lead to my decision of purchasing the Nexus One was I wanted to be the first to get updates. Now that FroYo is in the wild, your pushing other manufacturers to hurry up and move their butts so that they too can give their users the fastest, most polished version of Android ever to be released. Not to mention some people want Android, but don’t want to deal with HTC’s Sense UI, or Motorola’s Blur, or Sony Ericsson’s … whatever they’re calling their garbage.

4. Developers. Developers. Developers. When you launched the Nexus One, it was the only device on the market that ran Android 2.1. Then some device makers caught up, but yet again you moved fast and now the Nexus One is the only device on the market to run the new version of Android, this time 2.2. Developers need devices to test their applications on before a new operating system is rolled out en masse. There are already reports out on the net that some applications are not playing nicely with Android 2.2. Now I wouldn’t know what those applications are since everything I do with my Nexus One involves either the SMS application, the browser, or Google Maps, but for those developers who want to provide seamless experiences, you need to give them some way to let them do that.

I wish I could come up with more reasons, but that’s all I’ve got. Not going to stretch this out to a list of 5, or 10 reasons, just for the link bait.

  • rosgani

    I agree with you Stefan…

  • anon

    Google and HTC did make an enormous mistake with the Nexus One that I wish someone would talk about.

    The Nexus One comes technically unlocked from the carrier T-Mobile or AT&T and yet, for all practical purposes, it is still locked to the carrier T-Mobile or AT&T. And that's because the radio that was used for 3G data supports only one of the carriers and not both, and apparently for about $10 more, they could have used a radio that supported both carriers.

    A Nexus One that could be used on either network easily well would be truly unlocked and would have better resale value in the future, and would present more value and leverage to the customer and the market now.

    I think it's a real loss the Nexus One didn't do that.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      Besides the Nokia N8, I can’t name any other mobile phone on the market that supports both AT&T and T-Mobile 3G bands. Blame Americans operators for not conforming to the 2100 MHz standard that the EU and Asia uses.

    • marinperez

      This is a great point. For all the talk about Google reinventing the way cell phones are sold is nonsense. They sold a $500+ smartphone that can only work on one carrier's 3G network. What's the point of getting it unlocked then? It's not their fault entirely, as the U.S. carrier standards are messed up but a pentaband radio would have been nice.

      Because of the mobile tech standards in the U.S., Google's web store just became a pricey middle man. Verizon and Sprint didn't even bother to carry the N1 because both received better devices from HTC.

  • Thomas W

    Stefan,
    I totally agree with this. Innovation isn't going to flow out of the requirements of Network Operators. If Google stops its push, then all we're left with is the "pull" from Network Operators scared of becoming dumb pipes – which necessarily stifles consumer-oriented technological progress.
    Keep up the good work, you are my absolute favorite blogger in this space – funny, smart, irreverent.

  • shir

    me too. i was actually hoping that gingerbread will launch with a new google phone. i didnt buy the nexus 1 coz a lot are still changing and this is just their 1st phone but i was certain that the 2nd one will be it. w/ gingerbread, google music, integration w/ google tv, ebookstore all ready and maybe chrome OS, i thought xmas would be the PERFECT TIME! i want instant OTA updates and stock android UI (none of the carrier clutters in my widgets). and i want it unlocked! pls google, you're ready!

  • jay

    I would dearly love to see Google build a native VoIP client into Android and distribute it on their own hardware just to give the finger to the operators… but they isn't going to happen for a while yet I fear.

  • JD3206

    You might want to revise your first statement, if rumor is true that is. The Droid will have recieve an OTA update to 2.2 next tuesday (07/13) so you won't be the only one for too long (hopefully?)

  • Chris

    Absolutely!!! I want to get a Nexus One later this year just so I'm not tied to a carrier. I don't want the UI overlays from those other companies. I want the pure experience. It looks like 2 GHz phones will be out later this year… will I have to get a phone from a carrier (locked down, loaded with bloatware) to get speeds this fast? Please, offer more Nexus phones that keep up with the latest hardware!

    See also, http://www.MobilePhoneBillOfRights.com; I believe google is doing a great thing by offering a phone without carrier subsidies.

  • Chris

    Absolutely!!! I want to get a Nexus One later this year just so I'm not tied to a carrier. I don't want the UI overlays from those other companies. I want the pure experience. It looks like 2 GHz phones will be out later this year… will I have to get a phone from a carrier (locked down, loaded with bloatware) to get speeds this fast? Please, offer more Nexus phones that keep up with the latest hardware!

  • free man

    I bought my Nexus the first day it came out. Best purchase I ever made. Unlocked, no contract.

    I hope next time around I'll have just as good a choice available.

  • Hetal Patel

    I want Nexus 2 with GSM as well as CDMA, Ginger Bread, 1.2 Ghz Dual Processor 4.0 Inch Super AMOLED, fastest GPU and of course a Unlocked SPL so Developers can root it and use it their way

  • Matthew Crandall

    Couldn't agree more — there were two reasons I didn't convert from iPhone to Android (and bought the iP4) on this latest equipment cycle:

    1) lack of internal storage on Android phones (I'd like to see them start competing with the iPhone, or at least subsidize a 32gb card with the handset – it's much to costly to buy the phone, plus another 300.00 for 32gb of storage)

    2) I wanted a phone that was more recently released then the Nexus One, since it's got to last me a couple of years, but I want a stock Android build. There are 4 or 5 Android users here at my work (compared to the legion of us iPhone users) and the only two that are happy with their phones are the two Nexus One owners. My boss has a Droid Eris that he hates, another colleague has a Droid that he's ok with but wishes that it was bone stodck, etc.

    If in a year and half or so there is a bone stock Android phone (no UI garbage) with 32gb or higher internal (or storage prices come down) then i'll move from iPhone to Android.

    -Matt

  • elij

    I agree mostly, I would love to see Google come out with a new version, to continue to push the bar. I have one point to make though. I do not think that Google failed completely in their goal of changing how phones are handled however. T-mobile has redesigned their plans and how they offer phones in recent months. While I will not say that T-mobile holds all the answers, they certainly have their problems, you can purchase a new line of service, pay full price for the phone, and be contract free. They even offer the contract free plan at a lower price reflecting the fact that they are not subsidizing the phone. In addition, for accounts in good standing they are offering installment plans for purchase, whether you purchase a contract or not, which helps to limit the impact of that high price of the phone.

    I do not see any other carrier doing this and while some may allow you to purchase a phone outright, they certainly do not lower the cost of the plan for you. I think TMO may be on the right track.

  • John

    One of the big problems was that upgrading, most cases ,was not allowed. I was prepared to by 12 of them for my company however they wanted full price or a personal account,,,stupid marketing!

  • bustafone

    American operators DID NOT choose to use other bands instead than 2100. That frequency wasn’t available. You should have known that.

  • Eric

    I have been an iphone user for the past few years (bare with me, I have a relevant point). I have been fed up with apple's slow updates to fix bugs and introduce features that should have been included from the start. I am also sick and tired of apple's locked down "our way or no way" approach to everything. I have been waiting in the wings to switch to android and for google to come up with an alternative that would make me want to pull the trigger. The Nexus One showed promise; an unlocked phone with an open platform. At the time it came out, I was still in a contract and couldn't switch. Now, it's a bit outdated and won't be available much longer. The are several other attractive android options out there but the main thing that keeps me from switching, and I believe other iphone users like me, is the fact that there is no truly open android phone out there besides the Nexus.

    Say what you will about apple, but I would much prefer to be stuck with itunes and AT&T than to have to rely on Motorola or HTC for updates. The thing that bothers me most and prevents me from switching to android is the fact that I don't have the option to bypass the crappy software and slow responses to updates from the phone manufacturers. Give me android straight up, and let me customize it as I see fit (as google intended it to be), and let me download updates directly from google when they become available and I will be a loyal android user.

    Not continuing the Nexus concept would be foolish in my opinion. Google has so many up and coming products out there that are going to rely on quick updates and integration with android phones (google tv, google voice, etc.) All of these integrated products will suffer if we are waiting months at a time for Motorola or htc to get their act together with new updates. Whether it is sold directly from google or through the carrier, I could care less, but as long as I have no option with the promise of the Nexus One, I will stick it out with my iphone cause i'm no better off with a locked down droid X or htc evo…

  • Sergei

    Want to confirm the point previously made: I didn't buy the phone because of the radio chip issue. Google and HTC played STUPID! With only two 3g operators in US (T-Mobile and AT&T), forcing me to choose for the life which one is it going to work on was the deal breaker. T-Mobile coverage is mostly in dense metro areas, so in a small town like mine only AT&T has 3g, and I could even get into their outrageously priced contract ($70/mo+ for a _minimal_ plan), but then I still had to pay the full price on the phone.

    The bottom line: I would have buy if it was also available subsidized from AT&T, or didn't have a limitation on the operator, allowing me to switch away from AT&T as soon as T-Mobile hits 3g in my area.

    I am a software developer, and I don't want to deal with stupid providers UIs. So, I am not buying another android phone from HTC.

    IPhone, here I come.

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