SEATTLE, 5 JANUARY 2010 - Three years after rumors of a Google phone first surfaced, the search giant has taken the wraps off its own branded and designed mobile phone, the Nexus One.
Initially available on T-Mobile's network or unlocked in the US, Google said the phone will also become available from Verizon as well as Vodafone in Europe.
Customers can buy the phone now on a new Google Web page, Google.com/phone. It's US$530 unlocked. The phone costs $179 with a T-Mobile contract. The Vodafone and Verizon options are expected to be available sometime in the first quarter.
Buyers must use Google Checkout to buy the phone and must have a Google log-in.
Available only in three international markets
Singapore is one of only three international markets that Google will initially ship the superphone to, said a Google spokesperson. The Nexus One can be ordered right now at www.google.com/phone for USD577.31 (inclusive of phone, power adapter and shipping) and it will be shipped to Singapore via DHL.
Designed by HTC
HTC made the phone -- photos and details of which were leaked online in advance of Tuesday's announcement. The device has a 3.7-inch OLED display and runs a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It's 11.5 mm thick.
The trackball pulses light to alert users of events like new e-mails or text messages. The phone has light and proximity sensors, in addition to a compass and accelerometer. The light sensor will automatically dim the display when a bright light isn't necessary. The proximity sensor also dims the display light when a user moves the phone to the ear to talk.
The 5-megapixal camera includes an LED flash and takes MPEG 4 videos.
The phone also has two microphones, one in front and one in back, enabling noise cancellation. That means when users are in a noisy environment, the background noise is cancelled out.
In the demonstration during a webcast press event, the phone response seemed zippier than that of the Motorola Droid, perhaps due to the fast Snapdragon processor and upgraded software.
The software, Android version 2.1, builds on Android 2.0, currently in the Droid phone. It has more customization capabilities. For example, users can place widgets across five home screens instead of three.
The Nexus One also introduces the concept of live wallpaper. The background images, which sit behind widgets, are animated. In an example, a photo of a small lake with a reflection shows leaves floating in the water. Touching it shows ripples on the water.
Android 2.1 voice enables every text field in the device. That means users can speak Twitter messages, Facebook posts and e-mail messages and the phone will convert them to text to send.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.