So Google’s second attempt at a handset, the Nexus S, goes on sale in Best Buy tomorrow in the States. You’re probably thinking, “so what?”. This time last year there were rumblings that a Google branded handset was imminent and shortly after the Nexus One which was manufactured by HTC, was released to favourable reviews.
The handset however, did not sell in the quantities Google would have hoped for as they tried to break the traditional sales model for mobiles by offering it contract-free, direct from Google. They faced two problems:
1. Consumers on both sides of the Atlantic are used to some kind of subsidy on their handset
2. Google realised they would have to offer some kind of after-sales support, which they weren’t really ready for
They swiftly withdrew the phone from direct sales, and their “iPhone” challenger died a bit of a death. In the interests of transparency it is worth saying I have a Nexus One (given to me by Google for free at a seminar) and I love mine and think it’s great.
So the big G is having a second bite of the cherry with the Nexus S, which this time around is being made by Samsung. Should you be excited? Well, probably not about the actually hardware. Spec-wise, it is nearly identical to the Galaxy S apart from the curved screen and NFC (near-field communication) chip on board. NFC is a new technology which will allow mobile devices to interact with other devices – the end goal being able to pay for things with your phone as it could replace your bank cards and your Oyster card. Although it’s something to shout about, I can’t see NFC making a huge impact straight away although I am sure it will appear in the next iPhone too.
What is more interesting is that the Nexus S brings with it the latest version of Android, version 2.3 or Gingerbread as its been known while in development. This latest release makes further refinements to the look and feel whilst added a few new features around copy & paste, and voice over IP (VOIP) calls. All in all, not the revolution we were hoping for. It probably does bring Android closer to iOS 4.2, but I think we’re going to have to wait for Android 3 before Google’s mobile OS will really be giving Apple’s a run for its money.
It’s been coming for a while but Google has launched its real-time search functionality which will include up to the minute results from social networks, blogs, etc.
You can watch the demo, or try it out yourselves.
It will be interesting to see how this works in practice, and what this means for brands online.
I read an interesting article the other day (via webmonkey.com) about the next iteration of Internet Explorer, IE9, and from what I read it all sounds pretty lackluster. Based on the benchmark figures IE9 won’t be as quick as browsers currently available to users – I find this incredible… how are Microsoft not planning on building something that is better that what’s out there in the market at the moment?
Frankly IE8 was disappointing from a user’s experience. I stopped using IE as my default browser a couple years ago and have since been using Firefox, or more recently, Chrome. The main reasons being speed and ease of use. For me IE became to slow, clunky and littered with toolbars that I never used.
Also from a more geeky point of view IE9 won’t be supporting HTML5 which to me could be the nail in the coffin. I certainly won’t pretend to be an expert in web coding but from the sounds of it more and more pages will be written using this standard which means people won’t be able to view them using IE which would kind of make IE irrelevant for certain users.
I am hopeful that as user become more web-savvy they will demand more from an IE browser or just start to use an alternate, superior browser. I think if MS starts to significantly lose some of its market share in this area then it will force them to up their game.
So Google has finally given some more information on their Chrome OS which is due to be released towards the end of 2010.
On paper, it all looks very good especially with the 7 second bootup time! Also I agree with their premise that these days people are turning on their computers to get online – for me, outside of work this is certainly the case. However the developers would have you believe that you can do everything online (via Google’s servers) without the need for local storage. That sounds fine in principal when you have an internet connection – however out of the home this becomes more of a barrier. Particularly in the UK 3G mobile data cards or public wi-fi are often expensive, and connection speeds are not that quick.
Google will counter with some of the offline capabilities of programs such as Gmail but anyone who has used this feature on the Chrome browser will know it’s not ideal.
Where this falls down for me is that is the whole experience is totally dependent on being online and I’m just not sure consumers are ready for that experience. I get the feeling that even if they are using this device as a “companion piece”, they will want some local storage for things like music and photos and will also expect some desktop functionality as they are used to.
Some people are touting this as a “game-changer” however this is just Chrome the browser as an operating system. Now I love Chrome and use it everyday but although it has improved the way I experience the internet, it certainly hasn’t radically changed it. I suspect the same will be true of Chrome OS however I will reserve judgement until trying it out and further competition in the market against Windows and Apple is always welcome…
An interesting new application is being launched today by Google called Latitude which uses the GPS functionality of your mobile to let your friends know where you are in real time. You can read the Tech Crunch article here.
Anyway, I’m off to stalk some friends…