What Does the Nexus One Mean?

There are a variety of interesting questions to consider concerning Nexus One, the Google smartphone that reportedly is being manufactured by HTC for online sale as early as next month.


It's important to understand, however, that it is simply is too early to answer the questions. At this point, the best approach is to identify the questions. After all, there is no doubt that a phone from Google would have significant ramifications. Perhaps it's a lucky break that a decent amount of time is elapsing between the first concrete news of the long-rumored device and its actual appearance. This gap provides time to think of those questions.


The first question is, what is Google up to? The company seems to be everywhere, involved in purchases -- including some false starts -- service introductions and political debates over net neutrality and open access and other issues. The more targeted question is where the Nexus One fits into this big landscape. Is it central or peripheral?


The next issue concerns the reality that Nexus One puts Google in business against other providers of Android-based phones. Google, of course, is the major force behind Android. Will this create a backlash against the company, or did other providers get into the Android game aware that Google eventually would make this move? How will this convoluted competitive situation hash out?


A third question is whether an unsubsidized unlocked phone from the huge company will accelerate the ending of the traditional system in which subscribers get subsidized phones that can only be used on that carrier's network. Of course, that model has been showing its age for a few years. Will Nexus One hasten its demise?


Beyond all of these geopolitical issues is the question of whether the phone is any good. eWEEK has an interesting, though unconvincing, take that could have been co-authored by the Apple PR department. Finally, whether the device is a viable business tool must also be determined.


There is never a dull moment with Google. Of all its moves in the past few years, however, Nexus One may prove to be the most interesting.

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