After months of mounting anticipation, the Nexus One phone from Google has officially unveiled to the world, as the search giant looks to challenge Apple in the burgeoning smartphone sector.
Launched at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, key features of the handset include a 3.7-inch touchscreen, a five megapixel camera with LED flash, an accelerometer, a trackball and 4GB of internal memory, with scope to boost this by up to 32GB by adding a microSD card.
The new Android mobile phone, which has been manufactured in conjunction with Taiwanese company HTC, will also be home to a powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor to allow simultaneous use of applications and a smooth user experience.
Google’s phone is the first handset on the Android platform to employ noise cancellation technology for improved call clarity and will run on the 2.1 version of the operating system.
Addressing delegates at the showcase event, Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management at Google, described the handset as a “superphone” and claimed that it represents “the next stage in the evolution of Android”.
Andy Rubin, who founded Android before selling the platform to Google, also spoke and disclosed that although the handset will make profit at retail, the company’s principal aim is to generate revenues for its main online advertising business.
Mr Rubin was also keen to stress that HTC, which has been the most ardent and visible supporter of the Android platform across the industry, had been an equal partner in determining the design and specifications of the phone.
Within a matter of hours of the launch, Vodafone became the UK network to confirm plans to carry the phone on monthly contract deals in the UK and across Europe. The deal does not, however, grant the carrier exclusivity, with rivals expected to make similar announcements imminently.
A concrete date for the arrival of the phone on Vodafone has yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to go on sale on a contract deal during spring this year. Alternatively, the phone can be bought unlocked and without a contract directly from Google’s site for a one-off outlay of £362.
In a significant break from industry distribution conventions, Google revealed that orders and tariffs for the Nexus One will all go through a Google account, which must be set up by buyers when they order the handset.
Thus far, the response to Google's effort has been largely positive, with a number of technology and industry experts drawing favourable comparisons with Apple’s iPhone. The Nexus One appears to have taken aesthetic inspiration from Apple’s handset, not least in terms of the tablet form factor and the decision to dispense with a keyboard. The Nexus One is also marginally thinner and lighter than the latest 3G S model.
Meanwhile, early reviews have lauded the speed with which applications can be accessed and which cuts loading and start-up times. This is made possible by the 1Ghz processor, which dwarfs the 600Mhz equivalent packed by the iPhone 3G S.
Top10 will be updating this page as and when more information arrives. Check back for the lowdown.