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Notice: Everything that follows is an opinion, which we are all entitled to.
You know the deal, we put up our opinions, then you leave your comments to start “discussion.” Today’s topic, though, will surely bring some heated debate. So buckle up and head on past the break, this one may take a while. If you don’t want to read it all, skip to the second to last paragraph.
Remember, remember the 5th of January. So maybe that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as much as the 5th of November. January 5th was a great day for Android, Google and T-Mobile. We all cheered as the most powerful phone, at that time, was officially released sporting T-Mobile 3G bands. This phone, of course, was the Google Nexus One, but you knew that already.
The Nexus One had it all. Snapdragon, 3.7 inch AMOLED screen, trackball, Android 2.1 and much, much more. It trounced the competition at the time, and can still compete admirably with the phones of tomorrow (or yesterday if you have seen the Incredible). The phone was blazing fast and was looking to be THE Android phone, and it was… in spirit. The Nexus One became the phone that Google controlled, their child, their dream. It was everything that they wanted, from a software and hardware stand point. It became the top dog in Android land, and was ready to rise to the top. Google was there to watch over it, ready to fix any and all problems, and update it to the latest Android dessert. All seemed perfect.
Yet, something happened, something unexpected. A week of positive news and momentum died quickly, someone dropped the ball. The next months were plagued by complaints and Google wasn’t there to help. Their lack of experience in this arena caused problems, and there was no solution for the multiple problems that people were complaining about. They pointed fingers, even once at T-Mobile, trying desperately to find a culprit, a scapegoat. People were outraged, once for not being serviced, a second time for a hefty early termination fee, and a third for horrible 3G problems. There is no remedy in sight, and Google isn’t going to help either. They have stopped all research into the matter, saying simply that you should adjust your hold on the phone or just physically move. This is not how a phone should work, and is only one of the many problems the Nexus One has encountered.
Hardware and software issues aside, the Nexus One was destined to fail. Yes, I said it. The Nexus One is a failure. Now, before you get all up in arms, let me explain. The phone itself didn’t fail. It is a great phone, and if you can live with it’s quirks, then you will be happy (which seems to be the case with any phone). However, the Nexus One, or really Google, missed the most crucial aspect of selling a high-end phone, and that’s marketing. Love them or hate them, the iDevices have gained so much popularity in large part due to their marketing. So maybe it has something to do with the logo on the back, but that is exactly the point. Apple has succeeded in delivering commercials and ads that promote their devices in a fun and interesting way, and it has made their devices immensely popular. The Nexus One, on the other hand, was never seen on TV. I can’t say they didn’t advertise, they did, just ineffectively. They added a link to the most visited web page (google.com of course), but that clearly doesn’t work. If it did, then Google Chrome (which I love, by the way) would be the most used browser, but it’s not. So the Nexus One failed, in large part due to a lack of marketing.
That’s not all, though. The Nexus One was destined to fail from the start due to the business model. The Nexus One was subject to, what I am calling, tech-head syndrome. This disease is when a device, amazing or just run of the mill, goes unnoticed by the public and is only adopted by those of us that watch tech (pat yourself on the back). The same thing happens with the majority of Nokia phones, and high end Sony phones. The public doesn’t care about them. Why don’t they care about them? It’s simple, they don’t see them. There are just not enough people with Nexus Ones out there to make it known. Another factor, there is no way to go hold, or try out, the Nexus One. It’s a simple game that businesses love to play. Once they get you into the store, they have products to try. You get comfortable playing with it and you start thinking, “I could see myself owning this and enjoying it.” It’s the same reason why a car dealership will let you test drive that expensive piece of machinery. Allow the people to play with products, and they will sell. Once again, I turn to Apple. I know most of you say you hate the iPhone, but I don’t know anyone that doesn’t find his or her way into a local Apple store and play with one. And when you play with one, it just feels right. That’s how they get you, and Google hasn’t made this possible. T-mobile stores could have stocked the Nexus One, but Google didn’t want that. Without an in store presence, the Nexus One was not going to sell to the mass public.
The last reason the Nexus One failed? Pretty simple, really, it was, and is, being overshadowed. What’s the most popular Android phone on the market now? The Motorola DROID. The Nexus One had to go up against a “bare knuckle bucket of does,” and lost. But wait, it gets worse. Not much later, the manufacturer of the Nexus One took it a step further. HTC has taken the Nexus One, improved it, made it appeal to the mass market, and set a plan for advertising. In case you missed it, I’m talking about the Desire, and to an extent the Incredible. Both of these phones have almost identical (read better) specs, just they have, or will have, carrier support and HTC’s Sense UI. Regardless of your thoughts on Sense, it makes Android marketable to the public. Let me tell you a story. I have a friend named Terry. After dropping her old phone one too many times, she had a few choices of new phones. Now, she happens to have Sprint. She wanted a Palm Pixi, but her dad wouldn’t let her due to Sprint’s financial situation. The next choice, the (ugly) HTC Hero. She loves it, but she isn’t what you would call tech savvy, quite the opposite. She uses here phone with stock Sense apps only, and nothing more. HTC has made it so you don’t NEED anything else. Once again, the Sense UI is what the public wants, simple and easy to use (cough, Apple, cough). Let’s move on, though. One of those similar devices, the HTC Incredible, was just made available yesterday, with carrier support. What happened? It sold out online, quickly in fact. The HTC Droid Incredible is shaping up to be the biggest thing in Android, maybe falling behind the Moto DROID, but still prominent. If we stay on the topic of Verizon Android phones, you will clearly be able to see why this point makes sense. The Verizon Nexus One is canned, cancelled, gone. Instead, Google advises customers to take a look at the Incredible. Who cancelled the project, no idea, but someone knew that the Nexus One would not be purchased over a subsidized, and equally incredible phone. The Nexus One’s competition continues to grow as the year continues, and it will continue to lose. More and more Android phones will be released with similar, if not better, specs than the Nexus One, and they will be subsidized.
(Welcome to the readers who just skipped to this paragraph) So there you have it, the Nexus One failed. Sure, it is a great phone, but it never lived up to the hype and it never lived down its problems. With no marketing, it was clear that it wasn’t going to sell. Without the ability to handle, test, or even see the Nexus One in public made it impossible for the public to give it a chance. What’s the Cherry on top? The Nexus One has been overshadowed by a number of carrier supported, and cheaper, phones that appeal to the mass market.
So what can we do here on T-Mobile? The Nexus one is clearly the best Android phone for T-Mobile at the moment. There isn’t a great selection of Android phones on T-Mobile, and that has been a problem. I even wrote about that back when the DROID wasn’t even out yet. The best is yet to come, though. The MyTouch Slide will work for most, is plenty fast and has a great keyboard. For the rest of us, though, we want more, we want something like the Nexus One. Recent rumors don’t have us waiting long, though. The Desire has been a rumor for a while, but it is just that, a rumor. The Samsung is coming, though, and it will be what we all want in an Android phone. Will it compete with the HTC EVO 4G? If you ask me, yes, yes it will.