Google Heats Up Smartphone Competition

December 24, 2009Sparxoo


By Tara Lane, Staff Writer

When Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007, they undoubtedly revolutionized the Smartphone, and raised the bar for other companies to follow in their footsteps. Many have tried, but none have been able to develop “the next iPhone” – this might change on January 5th, 2010. That’s the day Google plans to release the Nexus One, also known as “the Google phone,” a move that is holding the public with anticipation and excitement, and making wireless providers a little uneasy.

The Nexus One is being hailed as an “iPhone killer,” just like every other Smartphone that has come before it. “Though it will be hard in the near term for any competitor to match Apple’s 7.4 million iPhone sales sold last quarter, analysts say interest in the iPhone peaking, and competitors are ready to swallow up new entrants,” wrote CNN Money’s David Goldman. This is good news for Google, as long as the Nexus One has features and benefits that far outweigh those of the iPhone. The Nexus One will be sold on the T-Mobile network. As the number four wireless provider behind Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, the Google phone may give T-Mobile a boost to be in the top three.

First, it was the BlackBerry Storm, RIM’s first touch screen device, although it failed to draw as many customers as anticipated. The next big phone was the Palm Pre, another device with lots of hype, but had little interest with the masses. In November, Google teamed with Verizon and Motorola for the Droid, which has actually become quite popular, but has yet to surpass the number of iPhone users.

What makes the Smartphone competition so close today is the recent news of AT&T customers who are continually unhappy with the service and coverage provided by the wireless company. Last week, unhappy iPhone users participated in a flash mob wherein they used their most data-heavy applications in order to drain the coverage in their areas, trying to send a message to AT&T that their network needs some serious improvements. With rumors of a Verizon-compatible iPhone in 2010 and the widespread unhappiness with AT&T, customers are now looking for something else that is comparable to the iPhone and a wireless provider that can offer similar options; it’s clear that AT&T is slowly losing its power.

Google is ready to take on these customers, many who are already established Google fans themselves. Because the Internet giant has partnered with other companies to develop and include Google operating systems on Smartphones, they have some expertise in the area, which has given them a foot in the door, and customers will have some familiarity with the system. Still, it is important to note that Google doesn’t have experience in hardware. Their expertise lies in software, which could be problematic with this new phone.

With little information released about the Nexus One, the only hype we have to rely on is the fact that it’s coming from Google. Still, the question remains – what makes it different? The Android gave us Google Maps navigation, a breakthrough that even GPS systems can’t offer. The iPhone has impressive apps that make it more than just a phone – it can be a TV, a gaming system, a music player, even a remote control for a TV or computer. What will the Nexus One bring to the table? What is the one thing that will make everyone want this phone, that really can make it “the iPhone killer?”

We should also think about Google itself – is this venture going too far, and are they taking on too much? Technology is such a competitive market, and everyone is looking to get in on the action. Microsoft is going down this road as well. With a million different innovations, they are losing sight of those that are important to their bottom line. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. While Google Experiments are fun, they pale in comparison an enormous endeavor like launching a Smartphone. Unless Google has something incredibly unique and ground breaking, the Nexus One phone may follow in the footsteps of the Pre and the Storm – only sharing a small piece of the pie.

Image by sundeip arora from Stock.Xchng