For those attracted to the iPhone but don't want to deal with Apple or AT&T, the Google Nexus One could be the answer. Here is my evaluation of the Nexus One from a business and IT perspective. You can watch the video or read the full text below.
As I've said before, I was a very outspoken critic of the first version of the Google Android operating system. However, the 2.0 version of Android was a big step forward and with it Google has proven to me that they're serious about mobile operating systems and that they're capable of building a good mobile OS.
The first Android device that really impressed me was the Motorola Droid. Now, Google has teamed with HTC on a Google-branded phone called the Nexus One.
So let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of the Google Nexus One and see how it measures up from a business perspective.
Best features1. Superior hardware: The Nexus One is thin and light, about the same size as the iPhone, but it packs a lot of punch into a small form factor. It has a 1 GHz CPU, a beautiful 800x480 OLED screen, a 5 megapixel camera, and 512MB of RAM. 2. Speed: The Nexus One UI is really fast and responsive. The combination of some great hardware made by HTC and the latest OS from Google bring the Nexus One on par with the snappy iPhone 3GS. In fact, it's even faster for some tasks like working with Gmail and Exchange mail. 3. Open application platform: If your company wants to create its own line-of-business application to run on the Nexus One (as well as other Android phones), you can start today and deploy it from an HTML page as soon as it's ready. You don't have to mess with any app stores or sync software.
Drawbacks1. Unresponsive navigation buttons: The navigation buttons at the bottom of the Nexus One are not as responsive as they should be. There many times when you have to tap a button repeatedly or really push down in order to make it work. This gets annoying really fast. 2. Apps are still 1.0: The Android Market has over 25,000 apps and it is growing big time, but it's also important to understand that the app ecosystem is not quite as mature as the iPhone and a lot of the Android apps still have a very 1.0 feel to them. 3. On-screen keyboard: Unlike the Motorola Droid, the Nexus One does not have a hardware keyboard. And, unfortunately, it's on-screen keyboard is not that great. It's not as good as the iPhone virtual keyboard, or even the on-screen keyboard on the Zune, which has a much smaller screen. However, the landscape mode keyboard on the Nexus One is better, so you'll probably end up using that for most your data entry. 4. Privacy concerns: The fact is that Google is NOT really in the smartphone business. It's in the information business, and it realizes that more and more people are using their phones to access information. So Google wants to know as much as it can about what information you access and how. For businesses, that can raise serious privacy and compliance concerns. If you have these concerns, make sure you thoroughly investigate Google's Android privacy practices and policies before allowing any of your employees to use the Nexus One for business activities.
With the Nexus One, Google has catapulted itself into the same smartphone league as the iPhone, in terms of usability, applications, and working with the Web. For those who are attracted to the iPhone but refuse to do business with either Apple or AT&T - or both - the Nexus One is probably your next best choice. Of course, those in tightly-controlled IT environments will want to strongly consider BlackBerry as well, since it still has stronger backend manageability tools for IT.
If you're interested in the Nexus One, it's currently available on T-Mobile; however, I would recommend waiting until it comes to Verizon this spring.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.