2010 : The Rise of Android and Google Nexus

What a wild roller coaster ride this year has been. When we started 2009, we only had one phone running Google’s Android mobile operating system : the T-Mobile G1. Now we have a few from Motorola, HTC, Acer and soon (maybe?) even the mighty Google itself will have the “Google Phone” aka Google Nexus One.

Mobile ad network Admob recently came up with a report showing that 25% of their total base used an Android handset to view mobile ads. The iPhone still commands 55% of the mobile viewing public, but that just shows that the Android market is indeed growing, and Android users use as much web on their phone as iPhone users do. Android users are either iPhone refugees, or people who have been waiting for an iPhone alternative. Google certainly agrees that this is a significant trend — they bought over Admob for a cool $750 million.

Much ado about Google Nexus One (N1)

If you remember back in the day before the iPhone, we had constant rumours about an “Apple Phone”. Many people gave up waiting for the iPhone, but eventually Apple released it and look where it is today. Over the past few years, we’ve also been hearing about the mythical “Google Phone”, which was supposed to save the smartphone world from being totally dominated by Apple.

Just recently we’ve suddenly had a sudden burst of leaks about the Google phone — dubbed Google Nexus One. Even a Google blog announced that they are testing a special Android phone internally, “eating their own dog food”. Now we have a hands-on review of the Google Nexus by Gizmodo.

Some highlights :
- it’s slightly thinner and slightly lighter than the iPhone 3GS
- the screen is the same size and same resolution as the Motorola Droid, (but) it’s noticeably better
- “astonishingly faster” than the Droid
- 5 megapixel camera with flash
- no multitouch

There’s already a website dedicated to the new phone, and they have a video of Android 2.1 running on Google Nexus One :

So Android now certainly has some momentum behind it, plus some a hero phone wih enough hype to rival the iPhone 4.0. However, the Android ecosystem is fragmented right now — unlike Apple, which has always offered the same software upgrades even to the oldest version of the iPhone, Google has been less than forthcoming about Android updates. Currently, we have version 1.5, 1.6 and 2.x in the market, with very little information on whether Google or its partners would offer upgrades, or even if upgrades are even possible.

Still, 2010 looks like another interesting year in the smartphone market, with iPhone and Android duking it out. There’s Palm still hanging on with webOS (barely), and there’s still a chance that Microsoft would make a comeback with Windows Mobile.

So, are you thinking of getting a Google Nexus one?

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