Google Launches the Nexus S Phone – But is it Wise or Necessary?

Just what the world needs … yet another smart phone.

Google has launched their new own-branded Smartphone, the Samsung-made Nexus S, to lots, some, a bit of fanfare around the world.  The handset runs the latest version of their Android operating system and includes some interesting new features including Near Field Communications (NFC) that can allow people to make electronic payments by swiping their phone near a reader.  This is a technology that’s already being used in places such as Japan for travel tickets and small purchases.

Elsewhere the phone has 16Gb of storage, the “world’s first” 4 inch curved AMOLED screen, front and reaf-facing cameras and improved voice control.  All that aside though is it a wise move for Google to release this phone under their own name?

When the company launched the HTC-made Nexus One a year ago there was a great deal of talk about whether this would alienate Google’s hardware partners.  Fortunately the Nexus One was a resounding flop and was closely followed by far better HTC devices so this was never an issue.  It’s inevitable though that this question will be asked again.

It’s easily arguable that Google’s Android operating system is now the de-facto smartphone OS of choice so Google no longer have anything to prove personally.  The uptake among handset manufacturers has been almost universal with only Nokia and Sony Ericsson hanging on to their Symbian platform while they see it though a slow and painful death.  Despite the launch of Windows Phone there will be no change to this as the market is clearly big enough to allow both operating systems to exist side-by-side with all parties making a decent profit.

You can think though that the only reasons for Google to release another own-branded phone is because either, they want to showcase the very latest stuff (in which case I go back to my original point about annoying partners and having a potential flop on their hands as Samsung prime another handset of their own), to reinforce the Google name in people’s minds (though the public don’t and may never think of Google as a hardware company so I can’t help but wonder what the point of this would be) or simply because they can and they felt like it.

This last one is far and away the most likely scenario.

Anyway it’s here but will anyone notice?  Certainly the Nexus One was noticed firstly because it was one of the very first Android handets, but also because of that awful hinge mechanism and the fact that the other Android handsets available at the time were all better.  Hopefully Samsung have learnt a thing or two from HTC’s mistakes.

The Nexus S will be available to buy or on contract after December 16th.

© Mike Halsey for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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