21 April 2010

A Month With The Google Nexus One

For those who follow my Twitter have probably surmised, I have possessed and thoroughly used a Google Nexus One for just over a month now. The Google Nexus One, for me, was a pretty drastic jump from my previous experiences with a number of Windows Mobile devices, but due to upcoming changes to the Windows Mobile platform in Windows Phone 7 which render thousands of existing applications incompatible, I have decided to move away from the platform. Seeing as how the smartphone market is fairly polarized at the moment, Android seemed to be the most attractive platform for me in more than one way, but mainly its ease-of-development, its incredibly low-cost of ownership and the fact that it is the only widespread open-source mobile platforms based on Linux.
The Google Nexus One first showed up on January 5, 2010, but at the time the only supported 3G frequencies were for Europe, Asia, and US T-Mobile 3G. Being that I had AT&T, it was a disappointment since I wanted the device and to be able to take advantage of all its features. And by features, there were many: obviously 3G (which seems to come standard now in handsets), a 1GHz processor (more than 2x the speed of an iPhone and my previous phone), 512MB of built-in memory (plenty of applications can be run and installed, thankfully) and an external MicroSD card to expand storage capacity, capacitive multi-touch, an accelerometer and compass, GPS, a huge and gorgeous screen, 5MP camera with LED flash, and 802.11b/g wireless. In the current market, it had nearly everything I wanted, lacking only a front-facing camera (which my previous phone had, but I never used due to lack of software or network support for video-calling).
I have happily used the device for over a month and have been quite impressed with its long battery-life, despite the unit nearly always syncing with various services such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Even the offering of applications in Google's Marketplace has satisfied nearly all the needs I have, and with easy-to-use development tools, I can even bridge the gap for those applications which are not available. The device is consistently snappy in response-time, and incredibly reliable (have not had any lock-ups - yet). However, not everything is perfect, though.
Though the device is an fairly silent but extremely powerful competitor in the mobile device market, it has its share of issues. One issue I have with the device seems fairly simple but can be quite a pain is the inability to launch and use the voice dialer application from a connected Bluetooth headset (my Jawbone Prime, in particular), which can be especially difficult when the phone is in its included sleeve and locked and I'm driving.
The second issue I have is a little bit obscure, but could be a huge saver: the Google Voice application allows the user to be prompted on each call whether or not to initiate the call through Google Voice or use your standard phone service. This option can be also tuned to either force all calls through Google Voice, or use only your cell phone service. I would prefer that I could be given another option: establish a list of contacts that call through my standard cell phone service, and a default through Google Voice. For instance, I could call my friends and family through my standard cell phone service, and all other calls through Google Voice without the device asking me. Moreover, if I call a number that is not in my contact list, then it would prompt me whether or not to use Google Voice. This is an especially important tool for me since if I had Google Voice prompt me every time, then redialing from my Bluetooth headset would require me to turn the phone's screen on, unlock it, then answer the question as to which service I should use, which is difficult as mentioned above while driving - and defeats the purpose of using the Bluetooth headset as a handsfree device to initiate the call.
The device is nearly perfect for my uses, and the only faults that I have with the device are mainly software-based and can be somewhat easily fixed. I believe that the Nexus One has a much bigger potential than any other smartphone on the market, and with its release on multiple carriers, it allows consumers to choose the cell phone provider they want to use and still have the same device (small caveats do apply though). You definitely can't do that with an iPhone!

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