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Is the Nexus-One Finally the iPhone Killer?
Here's my personal editorial on the Nexus-One. And please, to quote one of the more charismatic superheros, FLAME ON!
If the word "killer" was preceded by something else like "serial" or "cop", there would be an uproar with a clear bias towards the deceased. And rightly so. However, when we talk about an "iPhone Killer", the alleged suspect is laughed at and tossed to the side as a pitiful attempt at relevance. Why is that and how does that help to determine if the Nexus-One is an "iPhone killer" or just another wanna-be?
Let's investigate by first calling a spade a spade. If Apple had not released the iPhone, the world we live in would be a very, very different place. A new segment of the computer industry would not have taken off the way it has, opening more doors to greater creativity and financial rewards. Which leads me to one of the many iPhone killers to challenge the Black Knight: the Samsung Instinct.
Remember the commercials pitting it against the iPhone? Ding, ding! The Instinct browses the web faster. The Instinct has a bigger 3G network (or so they claimed in their commercials). So why didn't the Instinct slay the iPhone? It seemed to have everything just right? Full screen web browser? Check. Touch-screen? Check. In fact, just looking at the spec sheet, the Instinct had the leg up. It was even cheaper then iPhone after Sprint's discount. So what went wrong?
As anyone who's purchased a brand new, straight-off-the-assembly-line vehicle knows, just because you see two cars of the same model from the same manufacturer doesn't mean you'll have the same driving experience. So too with the Instinct. While it "looked" a lot like the iPhone from its hardware, the experience was much different. With the car, do you get the 4 cylinder or the 6? Do you opt for the 15" rims or the 17" rims? Why would it matter? Because it changes the experience of the ride. The iPhone's bigger "rims" is the browser in the form of Webkit. (Instead of explaining what Webkit is, let's just say a lot of companies are using it for their browsers on cell phones and desktops). iPhone's 6 cylinder engine came in the form of a smooth, visually pleasing (and elegant) user interface. The fact that a stylus was even included with the Instinct tells you that the little 4 cylinder Instinct couldn't turn over even with help from AAA.
"No", some might protest. "The reason Instinct failed was because it didn't have an app store." That would be a good argument except the app store didn't come about until iPhone 3G. The original iPhone was nothing more than an expensive feature phone.
"Ok. But this article is about whether the Nexus-One is truly an iPhone killer." And to that I say....
Ee-gad!!! Blasphemy! iPhone fanboy! (I'm sure there are other "adjectives" being directed at displays but we'll omit them; this is a family show). Let me explain that last paragraph.
The truth is, only iPhone aficionados refer to every new touch screen phone as "the next iPhone killer". When the DROID was released, I watched a news video on 1Cast (an app on my Cyanogen rooted T-Mobile G1) straight-up dissin' the DROID ending with the statement: "But it's no iPhone". They criticized the fact that its edges were square, not rounded. They had no choice but to acknowledge the brilliant display but countered with "it's heavier than the iPhone" - completely failing to point out the reason for the additional heft is the physical keyboard the iPhone lacks.
No, the Nexus-One is NOT the next iPhone killer. The reason is because (contrary to the ignorant talk by your local and national iPhone-lovin' TV stations) - and yes, I did put the caps lock on on purpose - THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GOOGLE PHONE!!!!!!
The iPhone's hardware and OS is made/sanctioned by Apple. Conversely, Google is only responsible for the operating system. Yes they have requirements such as the Menu and Home buttons but other than that, hardware manufacturers can use whatever combination of hardware they want. This is the reason I talked about the Instinct at the outset. As a hardware device, it *should* have taken down the iPhone but was unsuccessful. The reason? The interface wasn't up to speed. Essentially the Instinct interface provided nothing the iPhone didn't offer nor did it present it in a way that wowed the user.
Enter Android. Why Android and not Nexus-One? Because from a hardware perspective, Nexus-One provides nothing in hardware that is different from the iPhone. "Ah, there's where you're wrong. What other phone has a 1Ghz processor or FM radio? Huh?"
Actually, the Sony-Ericsson Experia X10 will be rockin' a Snapdragon 1Ghz. So nothing new. The FM radio? Nokia has had them in cheaper phones for years. It's true, no one has ever had them in combination. Nonetheless, that's not enough to dethrone the reigning king any more than the Instinct could. So why am I saying that Android and not Nexus-One is the iPhone killer?
Because it's what Android can *do* with that FM radio and Snapdragon processor. On another site I commented that one could create a real estate app that allowed one to listen to a listing in front of a house with the radio then schedule an appointment while doing a virtual tour. You can't do that on an iPhone. But you can with Android 2.1 (on ANY Android sanctioned phone with a radio, for that matter). Additionally, Android's notification is the best out there (Palm Pre users might debate that). Look at video of the Nexus-One in action. On a specific iPhone blog, even die-hard iPhone users admit it puts the iPhone to shame. Some iPhone fanboys contend that's all flash-n-dash. But what they quickly forget is that when the iPhone was the only kid on the block that had fancy opening and closing transitions, multi-touch (which is pretty pointless unless there's a real reason to use it. And no, zooming a webpage gets old, as I've experienced) they proudly stuck their chest out because they were the only ones that were doing it. But Android 2.1's active desktop, multi-colored trackball and transitions among other things are what makes Android 2.1 out-cool iPhone.
One more observation: Android is so flexible that it doesn't really matter what version that's running to dethrone iPhone. Look at videos of the Xperia X10 and it's animations with the Rachael UI. Completely different from Android 2.1 (in fact, it's running on Android 1.6). Yet the customizable desktop, folders, widgets, home replacement AND the cool animations along with the excellent notification are what make Rachael and Android 2.1 so cool.
In view of the foregoing, is the Nexus-One an iPhone killer? Absolutely not. Does an "iPhone killer" exist? It sure does. But it's not because of any specific hardware. It's the capabilities of the Android platform - not any specific hardware - along with its potential and the flexibility it currently offers that can kill the iPhone.
But do we really *want* iPhone to die?