The Smartphone has come a long way in the last 4 or so years. I can remember back in the day when I was using my first REAL Smartphone, the Samsung i700, in 2004 (again, I apologize for the pictures…). I’ve also spent the last 18 or so months installing WM 6.5.x ROMs on my AT&T Tilt. There’s no comparison between the i700 and the Tilt other than they both run a version of the Windows Mobile OS.
There’s also a great deal of difference between the Tilt and Google’s Nexus One, the long anticipated "Google Phone." Is it worth the wait? Is it a decent smartphone? Is it an iPhone replacement or substitute? Is it the right phone for you? Let’s take a look and find out…
I’ve got two different Android phones in the house right now: both the wife and daughter have CLIQ’s. With MotoBLUR, its all about widgets. While all you see with BLUR is widget after widget, BLUR is all about the middle-ware that keeps them constantly updated. Its definitely Android-centric; and something that works very well.
From a Nexus One perspective, there are a couple of things that I see as missing from the OS, coming from my WinMo background. However, I was able to find some interesting (and free) widgets in the Android Market that filled the gaps nicely.
Like Vista and Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets, Android Widgets extend the functionality of the operating system by giving you access to core functionality right on your home screen (as opposed to running and switching to an app). All of the widgets that I’ve referenced below are free and available in the Android Market.
- Agenda Widget
It took me a little bit to find this, but once I did, I was more than glad that I had installed it. It basically shows your day’s meeting schedule on your device’s Home screen of choice. The widget is free, and available in the Android Market. Its home page is here.While Android Calendar does allow you to put a widget on the desktop, all it does is show you the next appointment; and there’s no configuration screen that I can find to change the display behavior. Agenda Widget is by far a much better widget than Calendar. It shows you what, where and when your meetings are. Tapping on any individual event opens it. Tapping on the date icon on the left side of the widget opens up your Android Calendar app. Much, much better…
- GMail Unread Count/SMS Unread Count
One of the nicest things about the iPhone was the way that it showed message counts for all of your messaging accounts (TXT/SMS, MMS, e-Mail etc.). The Nexus One doesn’t do this out of the box (for any messaging account). However, with a couple of well placed widgets, you can get this functionality at your leisure.The developers of these widgets deserve gold stars on their foreheads. They plug a hole that needed filling. I’m not certain if the Gmail Unread Count widget will work for non-GMail accounts; but if it does, I’ll be using a second instance for those accounts as well.
- Digital Clock
Why Android doesn’t come with a digital clock widget is beyond me. I don’t like Analog clocks. However the Digital Clock widget, available in the Android Market is a cool replacement that can be placed on multiple Home pages.
These are some of my favorite widgets. Android Social Media has an interesting article on additional widgets that you might find of value. You can see it here.
Core Device Apps of Note
The Nexus One is very functional out of the box and there’s a lot that you can do with it without adding a lot to it. Make sure you spend time with ALL of the device’s core apps before you go searching for something. It may be that a/the solution you are looking for already exists on your device.
- Contacts and Integration
One of the things that I really like about Android is its universal address book. It takes contacts from Facebook, Google (Account/Docs), Exchange, etc. and puts them all in one place. If these address book entries include phone numbers, you can make calls from them with a tap or two of the screen. However, there are a couple of limitations that can be a bit annoying until you understand and accept how the paradigm works.
1. Entries are combined, but separate
If you have contact entries named the same way on each of your supported services, the Universal Address Book will combine them for you into a single entry on your device. You can edit the contact if you want, but you’ll get separate entries at that point. If you want to make changes, they can only be made on/in their native website/app. For example, Facebook contacts cannot be edited in Contacts and then synced BACK to Facebook. Once you edit it there, it becomes a Google Contact, and the changes will never hit Facebook.
2.The Address Book on the device is the only place they are combined
Just because you have both your FB contacts, with their phone numbers and say, your Google contacts synced to your Android device, doesn’t mean that they’ll all be synced to your Google Account/Google Docs account. They won’t. Again, they’re combined but separate.
- Android Market
The Market is clean, simple and easy to navigate. Before you buy anything, however, make sure you try as many of the free apps as you can. There’s a lot of development out there, solving a great many problems, and a lot of the apps are free.
Like Apple’s AppStore, the Android Market is integrated into your Android phone, and allows you to make direct purchases. If Google is smart, they’ll work with doubleTwist (see below) to build a hook into that app so you can manage apps from a desktop counterpart. Its a bit of hole in the Android device paradigm.
The biggest problem that I have with the Android Market (and the iPhone/iPod App Store if truth be told) is that trials are difficult, if not impossible, to code. Apple’s solution is to make a separate app with a time bomb so that it dies after a specific period, and can’t be reinstalled; or to make a free version with limited functionality.
I’m not certain how this works in the Android Market, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was exactly the same. I haven’t seen any trialware. Given this day and age, and my history with shareware, I’m surprised and confused that this particular problem hasn’t been solved yet. However, a refund period is not an acceptable answer. I’d rather not shell out cash for something before I have a chance to give it a go.
- Google Maps (with Navigation)
This section could be a whole review on its own. As such, I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here, as this review is likely going to be long enough as it is. However, I will let you know a few key points about it that you should be aware of.
1. Navigation is a secondary piece of functionality to Maps
Google Maps is Google Maps. Anyone that’s seen it on the iPhone will realize that all that Maps really does is show you where you are right now, moving in a vehicle or not. It also lets you search for stuff, and get directions to that way point from your current location. Navigation simply adds turn by turn navigation with voice directions. While it does a great job, its not the main focus of the app.
2. Functionality is (somewhat) limited
Some of the things that you’re able to do with regular navigation apps, you can’t do with Google Maps. For example, you can’t save a way point or destination as a Favorite, and then navigate there from anywhere. I think I find this the most annoying thing about Maps. If someone from Google is listening, this needs to be fixed and released with FroYo (or shortly thereafter)…
3. What Google Maps with Navigation does, it does well
Aside from the above, I’d put the nuts and bolts of Navigation as hitting the mark spot on. Directions are clear, the accuracy of the Nexus One’s GPS receiver is EXCELLENT, and the display is GREAT in 3D.
4. Integration with Car Home is pretty cool
…If you can get it to work. You’re supposed to be able to tap the microphone in the center of the Car Home app, and speak the command, "navigate to <pick a destination, contacts address, etc.> and Google Maps is supposed to find the way point on the map and then load Navigation and start navigating you to that destination. As you’ll see below, that’s not always an easy thing to have happen…
K… the android app just sucks. This isn’t Google’s fault, its Facebook’s. They need to get it together and just do a simple port on the app and give it the same functionality that it has on the iPhone. Why it has to launch your device’s browser to do much of what just about every OTHER platform version can do is beyond me. This is really annoying and really pitiful. Who’s the PM on this?? I’d love to speak this this guy and give them a piece of my mind. (Ok… I’m done channeling Molly Wood… )
While doing this review, an update to the Facebook app for Android was released, putting in an Inbox, which helps; but the app still isn’t the equivalent of other device’s Facebook apps.
- Google Voice
In sharp contrast to the state of Facebook on Android, the Google Voice integration on the Nexus One is awesome! It can completely take over the voice mail services of the device, and make your device look like your GV number all the time, every day, out loud.Placing calls via Google Voice is just as easy as placing any other call, and you can configure the device to always use, always ask, or never use Google Voice to place calls. The cool piece is that the device and the OS completely support the use of the free service. Now I can have business calls routed to my cell without having to give out my cell number to anyone.
One point of caution, however, Google Voice relies on an active data connection in order to be able to place calls in the first place. If your device has a weak, but usable, signal, you may have problems placing a call with GV, and it may error out on you. When it does, it simply asks you if you want to retry placing the call via GV, or if you want to call using your device’s native cell number.
Not too long ago, I ran into an article on ComputerWorld related to eight cool but strange Android apps. Some of these are pretty cool; and most if not all are free. My favorite, Tricorder, turns your Android device into a NextGen styled tricorder. Its actually kinda awesome on the Nexus One. Its really the right size and thickness as a Starfleet PAD.
Exchange Synchronization & the Nexus One
Before I get into this section at all, please remember that this is not just any Android phone. It’s GOOGLE’s phone; and while other Android solutions may provide full Exchange integration, the Nexus One does NOT. Currently the Nexus One will provide full Push e-Mail support, and full Contact sync with your Exchange Server, but won’t even touch Calendar.
If you’re strictly an Enterprise user, this could be a deal breaker for you. Without a real way of getting to your calendar, only having 2 of the required 3 PIM requirements (Tasks would be number 4, but are seen by many as optional), I would suspect that many would pass on the device. If this were my situation, I know I would.
However, the Nexus one is not just any Android device; and Google is counting on you being in this situation. The answer to why is simple – the Nexus One is the GPhone. Google wants you to use their PIM and PIM synching solution. Meaning, they want you use your Google Account OR your Google Docs Account instead. At initial revelation, this might not make a lot of sense. However, think about it for a moment…
Mail – With Google’s ability to send AND receive mail via your Google/Google Docs Account, getting mail to AND from your device is (relatively/theoretically) easy.
Contacts – There’s a very easy way to export Contacts out of Outlook/Exchange. Google offers an easy way to import those contacts; and their Unified Address Book will even allow you to sync your Exchange Contacts (should you not want to export) and have all Contacts show up in the same place. Please note, however, that there doesn’t seem to be a way to sort contacts by last name. Contacts will appear alphabetically by first name on your device.
Calendar – This is where Google really forces you to your Google/Google Docs Account. The only way I’ve been able to get my Exchange Calendar on my Nexus One is to adopt one of the following two methods. Both work and may require you to violate some kind of IT security policy or have the appropriate level of access to the internet and your mailbox on your Exchange Server.
- Create a Redirect Rule in Outlook – Anything that hits your inbox is sent to your Google/Google Docs Account. Period.
- Use Google’s Calendar Sync Tool – Provided you use Outlook 2003/2007 (Outlook 2010 is not supported as of this writing), you can sync Exchange to Google, Google to Exchange or bidirectionally at a user defined interval. Again, please note that Outlook 2010 is NOT supported, in either 32 or 64bit flavors. I know…I’ve tried both.
Depending on how you configure things, there are a couple different ways things could go here. I’m not going to get into all of the permutations, as they will likely be specific to your individual situation and IT policies. However, any way you slice it, Google’s put many people in a rather precarious position. Personally, there’s not much reason for me to carry the device if I can’t get all of my PIM information on it. I live and die by my calendar at the office. I have to have the information on my device and available to me when I need it.
Media & Synchronization
As soon as you turn the device on, you can see that Google intended this device to be a direct iPhone competitor. Don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise. Everything about this device screams, "iPhone, schmy-phone…I can do anything it can do; and I can do it better!" With everything I’ve seen so far, its pretty darn close. However, the whole media thing is where the thing starts to turn south.
Yes, the device sports a version of Shazam for Android; and yes, it functions almost EXACTLY the same way that it does on the iPhone/iPod Touch. Once it identifies the song its listening to, you can purchase it directly on the device via the Amazon MP3 Store. It downloads right to the device and you can play the whole thing right then, right there. Pretty awesome, eh?
Yeah…It turns south when you try to get the music from the device back to your PC.
iTunes doesn’t work on any other mobile device other than the iPod/iPhone; and since Apple got rid of the work around that Palm was using with the Pre, there’s no way to get your music back and forth from your PC to the Nexus One…or is there??
Enter doubleTwist. Its an open source media synchronization solution for Linux, Mac and Windows that works with literally hundreds of mobile devices, including the Nexus One. A list of supported mobile devices can be found here. It is, however, the only media synchronization application that I’ve been able to find that supports Android.
Interestingly enough, it integrates directly with the Amazon MP3 store, handles not only music, and movies, but photos and playlists as well. Regardless of your desktop OS, if you’ve got an Android device (or other supported mobile phone), doubleTwist is the best solution for your media synchronization needs. The only thing that it won’t do (related to media) is handle DRM’ed material. It also won’t coordinate (as iTunes does with the iPhone) the synchronization of your PIM data.
10 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone (updated)
ZDNet has a neat little article on how the Nexus One slays the iPhone. Much of what it has to say, I’ve echoed throughout this review. However, its an interesting read in and of itself. The first item ZDNet mentions is Google Voice, and they’re right on the money. (see above)
I’m not going to recreate the entire article here, but you should do yourself a favor and take a look at it. Its a good read, and gives you some cool information on how the Nexus One can be used in a similar way as the iPhone; but you’ll need to use doubleTwist to manage your media…
The device’s specifications are pretty beefie. I was actually quite impressed with the punch the device had, at least on paper. 1gHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 512MB of onboard flash storage, 4GB microSD Card for media (included) with support for up to 32GB, 5MP camera with flash, 3.7" 800×480 WVGA AMOLED screen, 1400mAh battery with 7-10 hours of talk time. The device is awesome, again, at least on paper.
The Nexus One feels good in your hand, though there is a bit of a problem with one-handed use. The N1 mixes a couple of paradigms. The design of the device speaks to a touch screen/ 2 handed use paradigm. However, the trackball on the bottom of the device speaks to a one-handed use paradigm. With the ability to use the device both ways, casual users may find this attractive. In practice it can be somewhat confusing.
How you use your device greatly determines how well your battery lasts throughout the day. The more data you push and pull, the weaker your battery gets. I push and pull a lot of data. However, I can say without a doubt that the battery on the Nexus One does pretty well, when the device behaves (see below). Yes, I would prefer if it didn’t burn as much power as it does, and perhaps a future OS or battery ROM upgrade might help in this area; but in general, the Nexus One does an ok job of lasting me throughout the day.
The one complaint I do have about it is that the device can get a little warm. I’ve been using Tether for Android to get Internet access at the office, and it draws a heck of a lot of power from the device. In fact, it draws more than the USB connection can replace, causing the battery to actually drain while its connected to my laptop.
I may also have to check my display settings, as the device has a tendency to turn on by itself and then not sleep; again, burning the battery and becoming quite warm. When either of these two conditions occur, battery life is in the toilet. I’m glad I have an AC charger at the office, otherwise I’d be in trouble.
On the weekends, for example, when I don’t use Tether for connectivity, the battery lasts throughout the day and only needs charging at night.
The Full 360
The Nexus One is thicker than the Touch, but about the same thickness as the iPhone.
You can clearly see the Nexus One’s docking contact points, the microphone and the microUSB connection on the bottom of the device. (and just a minor rant… what moron thought that putting the 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the iPod Touch was an ok idea?!?)
The right side of the Nexus One is devoid of any buttons.
The power button and 3.5mm headphone jack are on the top of the Nexus One.
When I reviewed the Palm Treo 700wx on pocketnow.com a few years ago, I mentioned that despite the fact that the 700wx was one of the best phone’s on the market at the time, it was only as good as the network that it was on. You can see that most clearly today with the iPhone. One of the things that most everyone has been complaining about since the release of the iPhone 3G in 2008 is AT&T’s network. In Chicago, the AT&T network, well… it pretty much sucks. There are many tower hand-off issues in a great many areas; and there are also a number of dead spots. There are at least 4 that I know of on Chicago’s BNSF Metra Rail Commuter line alone (one place where there really shouldn’t be any is a rail commuter line. I’m just sayin’…)
However, the Nexus One as a phone is pretty good. The T-Mobile network in Chicago is surprisingly decent. Yes, it still has signal penetration issues (devices on the network have trouble receiving and maintaining a signal inside a large building or concrete structure); but their coverage here is pretty solid, even for their 3G network. Signal strength in my house in Oswego, IL has been good, and I carry a 3-4 bar 3G signal there. I was also able to carry a 3G signal about 2/3 of the way to Sandwich, IL (map) when I spoke at their Computer User’s Group in the month of March 2010. When I lost 3G coverage, I had a 2-3 bar EDGE signal, even in the church basement I was in.
For the most part, calls on the device are strong and clear; and in a decent coverage area, you’re going to have trouble distinguishing a call on the Nexus One with a call from a landline phone. In all, I’ve been very pleased with the device as a phone (but then again, as a phone, the iPhone is decent, provided it has good coverage).
The Nexus One Desktop Dock is available for $45 USD and can be purchased from Google either with or without a Nexus One. The dock comes with a power cable and a set of audio cables. The Desktop Dock has a microUSB and 3.5mm headphone jack on the back of its base. It can be powered by either the included AC adapter or via the microUSB cable that comes with the device. I was disappointed to learn that while you can connect the device to your computer via that cable, the dock will ONLY power, not communicate with your computer. The dock does NOT provide USB connectivity to your device.
This is HUGELY disappointing. The Dock is sleek and sexy; and it was purchased solely for the purpose of holding my device while at work so it didn’t have to lay flat on my desk. While the Dock does activate a special clock program that only works while in the dock that allows you to see weather, interact with alarms, play media, etc., the lack of the Dock’s ability to provide USB connectivity to a computer really just blows. Is this a step backward, or is it just me? I mean, every other desktop cradle I’ve ever had for any of my devices has provided connectivity to my PC.
While I know I’ll keep the Desktop Dock, its value to me has dropped, and is certainly making me question the $45 USD cost.
In contrast, Apple also offers a desktop dock for the iPhone/iPod Touch; and it retails for $29.99, a full $15 cheaper than the Nexus One Desktop Dock, and it powers the device AND provides desktop connectivity. So, go figure…
The back of the dock also has the 3.5mm speaker jack; and again, while the Desktop Dock uses the microUSB power connector AND will draw power from your PC, don’t look for PC connectivity.
I first got wind of the Nexus One Car Dock on Gear Diary. As Soon as I saw it, I ordered it. It arrived a few days ago. Installing it in the car was fairly easy. I simply attached the dock’s base to the dashboard base I received with my Arkon iPhone 3G/ 2G iPod Touch Mount, and inserted the phone. You can see a picture of my setup below.
The Car Dock uses the same 3 metal connector pins to connect the Nexus One to the dock. Again, the connection that is created is a power connection only. However, it does automatically turn the device’s Bluetooth radio on. Because the dock connectors don’t allow for data passage between the dock and the device, it has to use Bluetooth to connect to the hands free kit. The profile for the Car Dock is built into the Nexus One. This isn’t horrible, but there are a few gotchas with the devices that you need to be aware of.
- Speaker Phone
Please remember that there is no direct data connection between the Nexus One and the Car Dock. It uses Bluetooth to send and receive audio to and from the microphone and the speaker. You’re going to have to deal with environmental noise in your vehicle during phone calls. Depending on the kind of car you have and the quality of its insulation, you may or may not have trouble with phone calls and call quality.
- Competing Bluetooth Connections
The Car Dock’s Bluetooth profile takes priority over any other connection you may have defined on the device. If you, for example, have a Bluetooth headset connection defined and it activates at the same time that the car turns on, AND you place the device in the Car Dock, the Dock will activate Bluetooth and pair it with the device, cutting off any other connection.
- Turning the Car on and Off
The Dock is made so that you can leave the Nexus One in when you turn the car on and off (like when you stop for gas), meaning that it shouldn’t spike the device with power when it remains in the Dock and you start the car back up. However, there are a couple of things you need to know…
When the car turns off, and the power to the Dock is removed, the BT mic and speaker turn off. This shouldn’t disconnect the call, but may cause confusion for your caller while you pull the phone from the Dock
If turn the car back on too quickly (like, you realize, "oops! I can’t hear or talk to this guy..!"), the Bluetooth radio will get "confused" and not correctly repair the connection. You’ll either have to pull the device from the Dock, or terminate the call to reestablish a working connection.
Yes, I found out about this the hard way. Google has an issue with the way the device connects to BOTH its docks. It would be nice if communication were possible between the devices via the 3 contact connections they use.
- Portrait and Landscape Screen Orientations
With the Car Dock, and the fact that the Nexus One has a built in Navigation app (with Google Maps/Navigation) and accelerometer, you would think that the OS would be more landscape friendly. Its not.
While Car Home works in landscape, and looks very nice in this orientation (it looks better in landscape than it does in portrait), the device itself doesn’t really fit a landscape paradigm.
Case in point, the Contacts/Phone application doesn’t do landscape well. I find this annoying and very aggravating. There’s no reason why, in a device with an accelerometer, that a core application like Contacts/Phone doesn’t support a landscape orientation, especially in the Car Dock. I mean it automatically activates Car Home when you put the Nexus One in it. Why it doesn’t either activate a special landscape setting, or more importantly, just support landscape as well is beyond me.
Now this confused me. You navigate to an individual contact record, and it does support a landscape orientation.
…but it doesn’t when you actually place a phone call. Again, confusing and frustrating; and kinda makes you want to tilt your head to the left. Not good while driving… When you make calls in the car AND the device is sitting in the Car Dock, the device should either support landscape or not support landscape; and not some weird mish-mash in between the two.None of the home screens support landscape either.Ya know, I get it. I understand that Google only wants specific screens to support landscape, and they want to control the way the device works the way it does. Heck, Apple is the same way with the iPhone. However, I think Apple did a better job in the 3G S with defining what screens supported landscape than Google did in the Nexus One. This is something that really needs to get fixed in the next version of Android.
- Voice Search
What a cluster this thing is.
Microsoft Voice Command has nothing to worry about. Google Voice Search absolutely blows. In fact, it sucks SO bad that out of the 25-30 times I’ve tried to use it to "call <insert contact name>, mobile/work/home phone," as it suggests when you put the device in the Car Dock, its only initiated a call once. Once. ONCE..! That’s it. Once. The accuracy of voice to text, voice to command, is horrible. In fact, I think its the worst feature on the device.
Is the Nexus One a Flop?
I saw a couple of articles the other day, one on ZDNet by Larry Dignan, that specifically indicates that sales of the Nexus One are very weak, and largely call it a flop. Gizmodo also has a similar article.
I agree that sales of the device are weak. I do not agree that the device is a flop. The problem here is a marketing issue and not a technical one. The Motorola Droid has done so well because of the marketing machine behind it. You can’t turn the TV on without seeing robotic hands work the Droid.
Google has done next to NOTHING to promote their phone, instead relying on word of mouth and user based hype (like this review) to stimulate sales. In the competitive market that is Smartphones right now, this isn’t really smart business; and as such, its not a big surprise that the Nexus One is experiencing lack-luster sales.
What can Google do to turn this around? A lot. Putting the phone in supported carrier stores (or even in Wal-Mart and/or Best Buy) can do a LOT to help drive sales. Podcast sponsorship is a decent idea; as well as a couple of TV spots. There’s been zero marketing behind this device. If Google truly wants it to be a successful iPhone competitor, then it needs to put some money behind the marketing of the device. Its the only way that sales will make any marked improvement.
So to sum up – no, the Nexus One is not a flop. Its a decent device with a lot to offer. If Google wants it to sell better, it might be a good idea for them to dump some money into TV ads like Motorola and VzW did with the Droid. It can’t hurt…
Price: As of this writing, the Google Nexus One Smartphone is available in GSM flavors only, though CDMA versions have been announced. It is available unlocked for $529 USD. It can be purchased for $179 USD in both T-Mobile USA and AT&T 3G compatible flavors. The phone is only available directly from Google. The Nexus One Desktop Dock is $45 USD and the Car Dock is $55 USD. Both are only available directly from Google. You can purchase the docks with or without your phone.
What I liked: There’s a lot to like about the Nexus One, especially where it has good cellular network support. The Android 2.1 Update 1 OS is pretty awesome, and the learning curve for someone so Windows Mobile centric, like me, was very small. Device performance is pretty snappy; and I have yet to really bump into operational problems using the device. Its been stable and solid.
The camera and its LED flash is pretty cool. The 3D gallery app is nice, and the sharing and editing tools is provides are impressive, especially since they exist on a mobile device and not a desktop machine.
What needs improvement: The default, on-screen keyboard is a bit flakey. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit the space bar, only to have it not register. The row of soft buttons (Back, Menu, Home, Search) are VERY sensitive. I have hit Home and Search many more times than I have intended or wanted. The black bar that these buttons is sitting on extends a bit farther up that you might think, so be careful when using buttons on the BOTTOM of the on screen keyboard vs. the soft buttons. You may tap something you didn’t intend to (like I keep doing…)
The navigation piece of Google Maps is great, but lacks a few key features that I thought was pretty PNA-centric. However, while I do anticipate that Google will resolve these, it would be nice for them to get to them sooner rather than later.
The Exchange Calendar sync (especially with Office 2010…) issue really needs to get resolved. The Nexus One should support Exchange Calendar out of the box. If it doesn’t do it natively, then Google should ACTIVELY point everyone to their Calendar Sync applet and tell them to work it that way. The beta of Office 2010 has also been out for a while, and Calendar Sync should support it by now. The fact that it doesn’t is just annoying.
Both the Desktop and Car Docks leave a little to be desired. The Desktop Dock can’t communicate with the PC when you dock the device and connect it via USB cable. The Car Dock uses Bluetooth to act as a hands free kit. Both would have been better off if they had hard wired connections to the device when they were inserted.
Google Voice Search sucks. There has to be something else out there that can be integrated into Car Home and the rest of the OS that does a much better job. I’m just sayin’…
And while this may be just a pet peeve for me as a reviewer, did you know that taking a screen shot on an Android device is very difficult without having your device rooted? What’s up with that??
There’s a great deal to like with the Nexus one. Despite the length of the "What Needs Improvement" section above, there’s a LOT to like here and a lot that I do like. Android is very easy to get used to, especially if you’re a WinMo nut like me. The OS is much more stable, and more mobile focused than any version of WinMo on the market today. I have no idea how its going to fare against WP7S devices, but I’m not certain I care.
The device is Google branded and supported, so its doubltful that it will fall out of support any time soon. Right now, it is THE gPhone; and unless and until Google releases the Nexus Two (or Nexus One replacement, regardless of name), I’m expecting OTA updates for the OS to be provided on a fairly regular basis.
Calls on the T-Mo network have so far been clear and clean; and I’ve yet to run into reception issues or dropped calls on par with AT&T and (pick a device, ANY device…)
The Desktop Dock is ok if all you’re going to connect to is is an AC adapter and/or a set of speakers. However, at $45 USD, its a bit pricey for just that; and let’s not get into the lack of desktop connectivity. That just ticks me off.
The Car Dock is totally a winner, though the OS needs to be updated so that all of the Core apps have FULL landscape support, including the home screens. The CLIQ can do it, and does, so I know its just a matter of the device figuring out where to put objects on the screen when you give it a twist.
At the end of the day, the Nexus One was a good choice for me; and I’m glad that I chose it over any other device that T-Mo had available, including the HD2 and myTouch 3G. At $179 USD, this was $20 cheaper than the iPhone and has equivalent functionality on a network that doesn’t have nearly HALF the problems that AT&T’s has here in Chicago. If you’re looking to move to T-Mobile in this area, this is the right phone to choose on this network.
If you’re on AT&T and you purchase the Nexus One for their network, you are likely to run into the same level of performance that I had with the iPhone 3G – spotty coverage. Since the device and its value is so tightly tied to cellular network performance, choosing this device on AT&T should be given serious thought before you pull the trigger.
Disclosure: I purchased the Google Nexus One and all of its accessories for myself and ported an existing AT&T number to T-Mobile as part of this review. My Nexus One was purchased before the AT&T compatible Nexus One was announced.