iPhone

If you're avoiding iPhone or AT&T, the Nexus One is your answer

For those attracted to the iPhone but don't want to deal with Apple or AT&T, the Google Nexus One is the answer. See how it stacks up for businesses.

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 features

1. 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.

Drawbacks

1. 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.

Bottom line

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.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

60 comments
idntevenknow
idntevenknow

the iphone is over rated, i mean sure it does every thing but are we so lazy that we have to have an app to turn off our lights.

fengzi
fengzi

I dont think this article or any other has made a strong statement against using the Iphone or even ATT for that matter.. It only offers incomplete solutions to existing phone issue. By far the only truth established in this article is that the Blackberry has strong IT tools for managing the phone. But you have to consider that a strong second (and the word strong seems to be a medium here) to that of the Blackberry is iphone. Nexus; meaning 'next is us'? Are they promoting 3rd place? Do we have to wait until the tools are better or even built for that matter? It seems the only thing the Nexus has to offer is a Iphone-like Screen. I'm not avoinding the Iphone or ATT.. But what I support is Apple allowing competetive service providers...

jck
jck

Well, I don't see myself getting anything from AT&T soon. I've done an evaluation of the services they promised me would save me money over the past 9 months. And the conclusion...in the immortal words of Col. Sherman Potter: HORSE FEATHERS! :^0 I am switching phone service (after having some sort of AT&T service on phones I've had since I was 7 at my parents) to my cable company, as well as solely getting my broadband from them and my television through them. Why? Because with phone + internet + tv from the cable, combined with only mobile phone service from AT&T...I will be saving $100 a month. Simply put: AT&T has done me wrong once too many times now. Not giving me a different model phone even after 4 of the same model had failed or malfunctioned on me, charging me for services I didn't order, etc. So, I don't think I will pursue anything they have to offer in the future. My cell plan will stay simple, and I will deal with another vendor now. Sorry AT&T. You just lost a customer of over 30 years.

vigremrajesh
vigremrajesh

then what is the reason to promote Nexus one.???

Pottsie4
Pottsie4

Many 1000's of businesses and educational establishments connect to the internet through a proxy server. iphone and even Nokia's first wifi phone (N95) allow a proxy server to be specified. Not the Nexus One or any Android phone for that matter. This makes the phone useless to many organisations and it seems crazy that Android (any version) can't see this. Come on Google! Sort it out!

roger
roger

I have had a half dozen HTC smart phones in the past over a three year period (the Mogul model)with our telecom Qwest. I was not impressed, as Qwest had to replace the phone twice, once due to the touch screen quitting and another time due to a firm ware update making the phone inoperable, so maybe HTC has gotten their quality up, however, I have had my iPhone about a year and a half and have had absolutely no problems.

zclayton2
zclayton2

Whose bright idea was it to display a dark colored phone for size feature layout and physical nature against a black background? It is barely visible. why bother with the show and tell if that is all you can do. stick with the talking head.

joergsattler
joergsattler

of course anything is better than a proprietary platform (Apple)coupled with the inability to install larger capacity batteries or even " legally " use it on a different network is a real turnoff.

Babe_
Babe_

Keyboard: I disagree with the critique of the keyboard. My big fingers couldn't even spell my name with an iPhone, but I have no problem with the Nexus. I touch the key, and no matter how much screen I touch, it gets the right letter, as long as it is in the middle. So, Jason, practice a little bit before you criticize.

jmacsurf
jmacsurf

I recently switched from the Blackberry World Edition to the NEXUS ONE for one reason: I just moved my entire messaging platform from Exchange 2K7 to Gmail. (Note* Exch2010 is mobile platform agnostic). NEXUS PROS: Nothing can beat the NEXUS Gmail integration/calendering/collaboration. NEXUS CONS: Keyboard interface in vertical position is useless [agree with J.Hiner]. PRO: keyboard in vertical position is better but still cannot hold a candle to the HTC form factor w/ a full physical QWERTY made for Windows Mobile on AT&T exclusively. CON: Google text-to-speech is about 10% accurate. Cannot rely on reading messages from vmails. PRO: Google audio vmail is accessible via Google Voice and nothing compares to its accessibility (Google offers this for free but you have to configure it). PRO: Facebook and YouTube integration apps CON: 3G with T-Mobile blows PRO: $140/month for 2 lines unlimited web/text/voice (T-Mobile) CON: Battery life (you can turn off GPS, WiFi, BT which helps a lot) PRO: There are apps to auto control battery power and clocking speeds [based on display and usage]

dsalter
dsalter

Realizing the Nexus One is trending high in tehc popularity and tech repulic wants to jump on that bandwagon, and Android 2.0 is a good improvement. Having owned or used all three phones and blackberrys I have found the Palm Pre to be most robust smartphone. It answers the drawback of the Nexus outlined here by Jason, has excellant muli-tasking which is the envy of all iPhone users. The app catalog is coming together great with over 1500 apps. The notification engine is superior to both platforms. And now the Palm is available on Verizon and Sprint here in the US. So if you want to avoid Apple, AT&T, and Google, go Palm.

saghaulor
saghaulor

I was beginning to think you only wrote for headlines and were a zealot for whatever the current "tried and true" tech was. But obviously you're not as biased as you have previously let on. Thanks for keeping it real.

mb.techrepublic
mb.techrepublic

I use a (Nokia) BlueTooth car kit with my Android 'phone - it'd be nice if one could buy a proper car kit for current-day 'phones, but none of the mainstream manufacturers seem to make them. By a proper car kit, I mean one that uses an external antenna. If my car audio supported A2DP, then that would be *really* handy for using the 'phone as a sound source. Perhaps when I next change the ICE or car itself.....

pat2408
pat2408

Android is not Bluetooth functional. Until then market share will not go up

slm
slm

If your proxy server is transparent, this isn't a problem. If your proxy server isn't transparent, it should be.

tutor4pc
tutor4pc

It is a miserable business practice to have phones linked to carriers. Imagine Sony would force you to use Comcast or Toshiba would force you to use Dish Network. Or GM would force you to get Marathon fuel. Why does government allow this sneaky practice? FCC should not companies to use their power against a consumer who has no power.

slm
slm

The trick to keyboard input is to use the calibration tool every week or two. It makes a quite astonishing difference.

terry.floyd
terry.floyd

I was thrilled to learn last weekend that Verizon is now offering the Palm Pre as a special upgrade for existing customers, using the same pricing structure as the Droid and Droid Eris. More choices are always better, as I was hoping the Pre would someday work on Verizon's network. But now, I think I'll wait a few more weeks for the Google Nexus to be supported on Verizon.

drbayer
drbayer

The Palm Pre Plus on Verizon has a significant improvement over the original Pre on Sprint. The Pre Plus will act as a MiFi unit. I'm a Pre user, and I'm sorely tempted to switch to Verizon to get the Pre Plus just for that. In my opinion, the Pre is generally a good device. It's not as responsive as I would like. I really enjoy the multitasking capability. I don't know about the Pre Plus/Verizon, but Sprint Navigation on the Pre is amazing - usually pinpoints me within a few feet of my actual location. Sure, there aren't nearly as many apps available as for the iPhone or Android, but I'm a BUSINESS USER and shouldn't be playing with those things anyway.

Greg Mix
Greg Mix

My G1 and now Nexus One works well with my Kenwood, which uses Parrot Bluetooth. Parrot also makes stand-alone Bluetooth hands free units.

mfehan
mfehan

What do you mean no Bluetooth? Bluetooth does work on Android. I currently have a Nexus one and wondered why I would even use the Bluetooth. But when my ipod took a dump, I moved all my music over to my Nexus One and it is my new music device. I bought a set of Bluetooth headphones and I love them now. Wireless headphones with a good 20+ foot range.

Hazydave
Hazydave

Like it says... Bluetooth works just great on Android. My DROID links to my GPS device, supports the handset protocol, address book exchange, etc. At least in Android 2.0+, they also support the high-quality audio profile, so I have a nice Altec Lansing BT speaker module for music... much nicer than needing to "dock", as an iPod does. The only current limitation I know about: voice dialing over Bluetooth doesn't work. Why? No idea -- maybe it's because voice dialing is just a use-case of Android's integrated voice processing, which works spectacularly well, but works for dialing, navigation, web search, etc. all from the same interface. But this ought to be fixable.

Jordon
Jordon

I know a few people using Bluetooth headsets with their Android phone.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't have a cell phone; why would Bluetooth functionality be a requirement?

jacomino
jacomino

There was a commercial a while back that pointed out how all other car manufacturers compared their cars to the Camry. The question at the end was, "Instead of comparing, why not just get a Camry?" Every phone that comes out, gets compared to the iPhone. Why? It is superior in every way. Apps, OS, speed (Google Apps faster on the Nexus One? Ooh, coincidence?), etc. I personally can't wait until the AT&T marriage is over, but I'll put up with having them for the satisfaction I get from having an iPhone! Just like the iPod, there are many MP3 players out there, but everyone knows that the iPod is the superior choice... so is the iPhone! -Peace

joetron2030
joetron2030

While I encountered the issue with a DROID, from some searches on Google, it seemed to be a complaint with the GSM version of Nexus One, too. Apparently, there is a problem with the included VPN client support for PPTP-based VPNs. Until that works, it's a non-starter for us. Which is sad because I was seriously considering the Nexus One when it comes to VZW as an upgrade from my Touch Pro.

3dBloke
3dBloke

One of the strengths of the Android platform is the flexibility to replace part of the UI with a different component app. This is certainly true of the on-screen keyboard. Coming from an HTC Hero to the Nexus One, I really missed the Hero's keyboard provided by HTC's Sense UI. I installed Smart Keyboard Pro from the Market and found this a lot better, though still room for improvement. Since then, though, I have discovered Swype and SlideIT. Unlike the usual tap-entry keyboards, Swype and SlideIT both work by sliding your finger across the keys of the word that you want to type. You only lift your finger at the end of the word. Sounds weird, but it really works very well. I can enter text around three or four times quicker in this way. Swype (currently in beta) is only available for Nexus One and Droid, due to screen size. SlideIT scores over Swype in that it is available for any Android phone and, importantly for euro-market, has several language packs. Swype is the better-looking of the two, though. IMHO, the Swype and SlideIT approach to on-screen text entry largely does away with any complaints about no physical keyboard.

BobinAtlanta
BobinAtlanta

Or is it Google? I have had T-Mobile for at least three name changes and it does everything I want for a good price. Why do I have to dump my current plan for a one small size fits all? As for Google, I have been an early adopter for all their products. My warm fuzzy customer loyalty for both companies is feeling a bit chilled lately. I wonder, is there a huge warehouse filled to the rafters with Nexus Ones? If they would give me a little incentive, like $100 off, I would take one off their hands.

tutor4pc
tutor4pc

Is the Nexus One very similar to the HTC Hero as offered by Sprint? If so, wouldn't the Hero be as good a platform? I feel the vendors create such a cloud (or smoke and mirrors) that I cannot really figure out what is what. We have the Sprint Hero phones and they work largely fine and many applications are OK. So far none of them got me excited out of the about 100 apps I tried. Many were sent into history within two minutes. As I have no clue who can see my data I do not even like the idea of banking with the phone. So here we have a (probably) good phone but a murky infrastructure on weak legs. Why would I want to use the phone for business applications rather than a netbook? Yes, a netbook is pain with the boot time but I have my data somewhat safe.

jon
jon

Re your drawback of the navigation buttons not working the answer is to touch them above the icon that is between the icon and the screen itself and then they work great. Give it a try.

adamsken
adamsken

...Google currently won't allow sales to Businesses. You have to purchase at the individual user level and import onto your Corporate account. That hurdle needs to be removed before it can even be considered as a business option.

Justin James
Justin James

... it's not ready for business use. Why? Look a little closer at the network side of it. While it may be a SIM card phone, it doesn't get 3G on AT&T's network. So you are tied to T-Mobile if you really want 3G (and that is a "must have" I think on these phone), and their 3G coverage map is *awful*. In fact, their entire coverage map is awful, it very closely resembles an overlay of the highway system and a population density map. In other words, "good luck using your phone if you don't love in a city". But with AT&T, it's actually WORSE! Why? The Nexus One *can't do 3G on AT&T's network*. PERIOD. Physically incapable. If you want the Nexus One at 3G, you either need to go with T-Mobile and their lousy coverage area, or holdout for Verizon to get it. Personally, I couldn't stand my ENV3 anymore, I got the brand new Devour yesterday. I think it's chassis is amazing, love the look (very 70's techie, just like the Droid is very "Casio watch-esque"). I really trended towards the Droid for the Android 2.0 OS and because I really didn't see the appeal of MotoBlur (although I really like it now that I have it), but the deciding factor was the keyboard. The Droid's keyboard shares the top row between letters and numbers, and at the same time, it's so close to the screen that I cannot easily get to the items on it; the Devour has more space between the screen and the keyboard, and the top row are numbers anyways. I'm just hoping that MotoBlur releases on Android 2 soon. J.Ja

mbrello
mbrello

I was attracted to the Nexus One because it had similar features to the iPhone and I didn't want to have to change carriers (I was with T-Mobile). Currently, the Nexus One can only be purchased online. The phone is not available via all carriers as yet, so the cost of the phone is $589.99. The website is a little misleading - T-Mobile customers are supposedly able to get the phone for $189.99. However, there is a catch: you have to establish a new line of service with a new 2-year contract. I was willing to sign a new service contract, but I did not want to establish a new number, as I have had the same mobile number for 10 years. So, I could have stayed with T-Mobile and kept the same number, but I would have had to pay full price for the phone. I am now a happy owner of an iPhone 3GS for which I paid $199.99, and I still have the same mobile number. Obviously, T-Mobile lost me to AT&T.

3dBloke
3dBloke

Swype and SlideIT. Google them. I've been using SlideIT for about a week. It is amazingly easy to enter text around thre to four times faster than a traditional tap-entry keyboard. Swype is similar but limited platform support at present (beta).

dsalter
dsalter

I am a bit disappointed about the costing strategy Verizon is using for the MiFi. It requires an additional monthly fee and doesn't use the data plan you already pay for. This is interesting because I doubt people will be using their Pre as a full-time wireless networking because you can't use it as a phone when on mifi.

brian
brian

I'm a three-year user of the Treo 700wx. I can carry it for three and a half days, idle, without charging. It can handle three to five hours of talking. It shows my upcoming appointments on the home screen without having to enter any applications to see them, so all I have to do to check my schedule for the next two days is tap the power button, and the phone stays locked and shuts back off in 15 seconds. None of the Palm phones released after the 700wx are even a decent replacement. They've increased power consumption, decreased battery capacity (by 40%), turned the home screen into a useless photo devoid of any informational content, and with the Pre have switched to an unusable metal film keyboard that I simply can't type on. How does the Nexus stack up to these fairly simple needs? It seems the phone designers are forgetting that people want their phone to be FUNCTIONAL first, with bells and whistles if there's still room after function.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

People who talk on the phone a lot often prefer to user a Bluetooth headset.

mfehan
mfehan

iPhone faster? not really, the iPhone 3gs has a 600Mhz processor with 256mb of ram. The Nexus one has a 1Ghz processor and 512mb of ram. Has just as much storage (32GB) and has a removable battery which your beloved iPhone does not. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is a polished phone but it has been out for years and has had plent of time to evolve. Android has only been out for a year and a half. Give it another year and we'll see who has the "superior choice"..... something tell me it won't be the one that is not open source and discriminates against developers.

Too_Busy_To_Be_Here
Too_Busy_To_Be_Here

Nexus One = Android 2.1 with 1GHz processor Hero = Android 1.6?? with 528MHz processor Update: Display on Hero is 320 x 480 as opposed to the Nexus One's 800 x 480 (display is also 1/2 inch larger). Nexus One also has almost twice the RAM

sunilvmenon
sunilvmenon

Though I like most things with the Nexus One, one big drawback is the sound quality. The quality of sound is very when compared to the iPhone or the HD2

i2fun
i2fun

I got a Nexus One on a T-Mobile contract and kept my old number I'd had for 3 years. A new line of service doesn't mean you can't take your old number with you. In fact you can transfer any number to any company and any device at any time. It's called "Existing Phone Number Portability". Of course their are conditions and proper steps to take: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/consumerfacts/numbport.html But spreading lies in order to promote your own agenda is asinine! Sorry!!!

Greg Mix
Greg Mix

With T-Mobil there is only one plan you can renew to, but they will allow you to switch soon after. As far as keeping the same number, that is standard when renewing. Did you actually speak with someone at T-Mobil? Here are the two cases: 1) Renewing: at 22-24 months into your existing contract you can get the phone for $179, start the 500 min plan (keeping your same number is assumed), with a two year contract. 2) New service: sign the two year contract with the 500 min plan, get the phone for $179, and port your number from your old carrier. I was only at 17 months and I also wanted to move to non-contract plans once it ran out so I ended up buying one outright.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

That's good for people to know. Of course, as I mentioned in the article, I'd recommend the Nexus One on Verizon over T-Mobile.

meski.oz
meski.oz

If you turn all the wireless bits on (wifi, bluetooth, satellite) - but is that *really* going to surprise anyone? Works in Australia with a NextG sim, and makes an internet connection. Mobicity sell them.

jon
jon

I love the Nexus one but it has one major issue with lack of proper bluetooth support. In the car the basic functions work OK (Ford builtin Bluetooth) But there is no support for redial via bluetooth or listing the last dialled / received numbers or very importantly call waiting - The car displays the call waiting and the persons name and allows you to accept or reject the call but if you accept the call it just Hangs up both calls. Use a Nokia or Sony and it works fine.

Miata492
Miata492

Bluetooth works fine on Android platform from what I can see - my wifes Droid connects to the BT in her car with full functionality and to a headset no problem. BTW... Verizon has not crippled BT in a long time now... I will be getting the Verizon Nexus One when it comes out on March 23rd... Storm2 is going on eBay!

Justin James
Justin James

My headset works just fine with my Android phone. Not sure what else is disabled, but I don't think that most phone users are used to using Bluetooth for much else. At least I'm not, because Verizon has such a history of crippling the Bluetooth... J.Ja

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

don't travel overseas. That's still the vast majority of U.S. knowledge workers.

ronsmith
ronsmith

We are a business customer (~1300 employees ) and use Verizon CDMA phones.

levilan
levilan

What business user will use a CDMA phone which can't be used overseas ?

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

Why would google care if you open a new account or continue with an existing account? They don't. They only one who cares is the phone company who are subsidizing the phone.

mbrello
mbrello

You are absolutely right. I should have clarified that if users wanted the Nexus One at the discounted cost by going through a "partnered" carrier (for lack of a better term) that Verizon and Sprint would be able to offer the phone at the discounted cost with a 2-year contract agreement. And I totally agree re: the 3G. For more info, visit www.google.com/phone. CORRECTION: Sprint is not the other "partnered" carrier. It is vodaphone in Europe.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

The CDMA version of the Nexus One just passed the FCC. Should land on Verizon before the end of the month. Just to clarify, the GSM version of Nexus One does work on AT&T (technically) but it does not have the 3G bands. I wouldn't want it without the 3G, but I just want to make sure we are sharing the right information with the public.

mbrello
mbrello

The Nexus One will be available with Verizon and Sprint (I think) in Spring 2010.

sjdorst
sjdorst

That it's coming is certain. Rumor has it with a late March availability. Latest non-rumor news is FCC certification of Nexus One for Verizon's CDMA frequency ranges - that happened in late February

mbrello
mbrello

When I spoke to the T-Mobile representative at my local store, he indicated that the upgrade policy was a Google stipulation. The carriers have nothing to do with the sale of the phone since it is not available in stores. It can only be purchased online.

liglaw
liglaw

Nexus One is a GSM phone that does not work on AT&T. Recommendation of Verizon doesn't work either - CDMA at Verizon. I have been searching for a GSM carrier in the US so that I can use a Nexus One and have been completely unsuccessful. Anyone know of one?