We’ve been waiting a long time to actually get a look at the Nexus One successor, and it’s finally here. The Nexus S, yes, based on Samsung’s Galaxy S, will on December 16th. The phone will be available unlocked for $529 or attached to a T-Mobile contract for $199. From what early reports are saying, this is the Android device to have.
The phone sports all the usual hardware – 1GHz processor, 5MP camera (720p capable), front-facing camera, hi-res display – but the real ‘Google experience’ is in the software. As with the Nexus One, the Nexus S comes with a ‘clean’ Android install (Gingerbread 2.3 on this one), meaning it’s unadulterated by the manufacturer or third-party vendors.
The Nexus S is also the first phone to market with built-in NFC support. Near-field communication isn’t such a big deal now, but it could easily become the way we handle quick transactions in the near future. It’s also a nice, fast way to send information between two NFC-enabled devices.
It comes as no surprise that Google’s experiment in phone sales went poorly. It was so bad that the company will be shutting down its Nexus One storefront. Here’s the word from the official Google blog:
While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from.
Yeah, no kidding. I’m not sure why no one spoke up and said this at the meetings that must have happened before the phone launched. If anyone at Google thought Verizon or T-Mobile or Sprint or, well, any carrier would actually want to give up control over phone sales and contract pricing they should be beaten about the head with a sock full of Nexus Ones.
The Nexus One has been a mixed bag for Android users. A lot of people really seem to love it. Steve Wozniak, Apple’s Steve Wozniak, called it his favorite gadget earlier this year. That’s awfully high praise coming from such a prominent Apple figure. For others, though, it’s been an unending mess of bug problems without any fixes. There have been display problems, software problems, hardware malfunctions, and the notorious 3G issues in which the Nexus One can’t seem to hold a 3G connection.
Well guess what – it’s not being fixed. That’s correct. The official Google stance is sorry, but you’re screwed. Here it is in geek speak:
I’ve seen some recent speculation on this thread about an OTA to improve 3G connectivity and I want to give you an update on the situation.
While we are continuing to monitor user feedback regarding the 3G performance on the Nexus One, we are no longer investigating further engineering improvements at this time.
If you are still experiencing 3G issues, we recommend that you try changing your location or even the orientation of your phone, as this may help in areas with weaker coverage.
That’s from the official Google support forums. It’s amazing that they’ll market and sell a smartphone to a bunch of nerds and then ask if anyone had thought of moving to improve reception. Wow.
It’s funny how one success story can send the world into a frenzy. The iPhone has been an undisputed success, gobbling up market share by the full percentage point. It’s not unstoppable, though. As the latest comScore stats show, actually, sales growth is nearly nonexistent.
Let’s start with the good news, though. Apple is sitting at 25% market share – an incredible number for such a young presence in the market. This is the number that had everyone scared. The bad news for Apple is that it has stopped growing. Relative to the market, the last three months have only been up .3% for Apple. Compare that to RIM who’s up 1.7% on its 41.3% market share in October of last year. Android more than doubled in the last three months, granted only from 2.8% to 7.1% but that is still massive growth.
Part of the problem is no doubt that Apple has conditioned the world to believe every summer will bring a new iPhone. If that’s not the case in 2010, we might see some very stagnant iPhone numbers before year’s end.
Part of the hullabaloo surrounding Apple’s recent litigation against HTC was that it supposedly came with little warning. That would have left HTC without much time to find suitable workarounds for the infringements in question, if it actually wasn’t warned in the first place. According to Oppenheimer’s Yair Reiner, Apple did warn handset makers that it would be much stricter with regard to IP violations in the new year.
“Starting in January, Apple launched a series of C-Level discussions with tier-1 handset makers to underscore its growing displeasure at seeing its iPhone-related IP [intellectual property] infringed. The lawsuit filed against HTC thus appears to be Apple’s way of putting a public, lawyered-up exclamation point on a series of blunt conversations that have been occurring behind closed doors,” Reiner wrote in a report on the matter. If he’s to be believe, HTC may be the first in a string of suits that could lead to lucrative licensing deals for several of Apple’s technologies.