After years of speculation, last week the rumors came true and the Google Phone was announced, officially known as the Nexus One. The device is heavy on specs with the 3.7" AMOLED display immediately stealing our hearts. As always, what really counts is brains and the Nexus One's 1GHz Snapdragon processor is what really sets this device apart. Other important points of interest are a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with flash and the Android 2.1 operating system. In Europe, we've already seen devices with 1 GHz processor and large display. In the US, there are other phones with similar specs- the Droid also has a 3.7" display and runs on Android 2.0.1, the Moment has an AMOLED screen and 800MHz processor and the Hero/Droid Eris both have 5 megapixel camera- so what makes this phone so special? Well first off is that it will be sold exclusively though Google, though carrier subsidies will be available to new and qualifying customers.
So what about the device itself? What first strikes you is the enormous screen on such a thin device; the Nexus One measures just 11.5mm thin and the 3.7" display dominates the front. According to HTC, the aluminium frame, which is connected to the chassis made it possible to make it so thin and sturdy. It is similar in feel to the iPhone, but the combination of wide and thin, combined with the plastic casing, makes it slipperier than we'd prefer. It is also top-heavy which only adds to the phone's propensity to jump out of your hand. The basic design is very similar to Sprint's Hero, which our normal-sized hands prefer in terms of feel.
Powering the device on quickly made us forget about the awkward feel. The AMOLED display is one of the best we've encountered, and some of the Live Wallpapers actually introduce depth to the interface (think 3D, but it doesn't move with you.) This thing is blazing fast, noticeably moreso than the Droid. The 1GHz processor is really felt and it flies through the new 3D animations. Android 2.1 is a nice upgrade from 2.0, but nothing groundbreaking. We do find ourselves missing HTC's Sense UI and multitouch implementation in the browser. The Google Phone looks to be a lock for best Android phone to date, but does it have enough to take on the mighty iPhone? Check back soon for our full review to find out!
Hands-on with HTC Nexus One:
HTC HD2 for T-Mobile
T-Mobile customers surely have a reason to celebrate now as they know their carrier will be officially getting the HTC HD2. We spent some time with the HD2 for T-Mobile and not surprisingly, found it is literally unchanged when compared to the European model. In this case however, that’s not a bad thing at all, since the HD2 is one of the most spectacular smartphones we have ever seen. By packing some really powerful hardware, it manages to deliver a truly great experience. Customers of the other carriers can only envy T-Mobile’s users for that one. Check our HTC HD2 Review, or take a look at this article, if you want to see the 4.3-inch smartphone compared to the Apple iPhone 3GS.
As strange as this may sound, we are here with the HTC Smart, HTC’s first featurephone. So, um… how’s it going, Smart? Guess it’s not very cool to be the simplest guy in the family? Hey, wait a second, the HTC Smart may not be particularly bright, but it is capable enough to be running the manufacturer’s Sense user interface. By doing that, the Smart will be delivering the HTC experience to the entry-level segment, which would be well-received by users who do not wish to pay for all the extra smartphone features, but would still enjoy an up-to-date looking software. And that basically is the HTC Smart, a Brew MP based featurephone, designed to be affordable and sexy. Fortunately, it is said that the new Brew platform is fairly light, so the handset’s modest hardware should be good enough to deliver a smooth experience. The Smart will be available in Europe and Asia this Spring. AT&T has also said it plans to offer Brew MP based phones, although it’s uncertain whether the carrier will get the Smart at some point.