Google’s Nexus One: Good For The Market; Bad for Google

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By: Hillel Fuld

I feel like I am writing new posts all the time about phones that are supposed to beat the iPhone at becoming the world’s most advanced mobile platform. Today’s candidate is the new and extremely hyped Google phone or the Nexus One.

First of all, let me say that in all seriousness, Apple has taught us that there is a lot to a name. I am not saying that a phone cannot be popular if its name is not catchy, but I just find it harder to picture a scenario in which consumers get excited about their new Nexus One. iPhone just works so much better. I think Google still has a lot to learn from Apple in terms of branding.


Also, when  the original iPhone came out, Apple was not the one to generate the hype. In fact, Apple was actually extremely careful about leaks to the press regarding their mysterious entry into the smartphone arena. Google, on the other hand, are giving out the Nexus One to all Google employees and allowing them to tweet about its existence as well as share it with friends to play with.

Now, I am not sure if this is something that we should praise Google for, or maybe it is a clear  indication that the phone will not be an iPhone-like success. If they were confident that the Nexus One was so great, would they really be spending so much time trying to generate buzz?

So, the latest rumors about the Nexus One is that Google is partnering with T Mobile on the release, but it will be unlocked to all GSM networks. I am sure I am not telling the folks over at Google something they have not already discovered, but wasn’t that Nokia’s model for the US? Didn’t the various Nokia models come unlocked and unsubsidized by the providers? Now, there is no denying Nokia’s success in the mobile space, but let there be no misunderstandings, Nokia is failing and failing hard in the US. Just last week, they closed multiple stores across the US.


I am not comparing Google to Nokia, but I am not sure this is a smart move on the part of Google. In addition, the timing in my opinion might be a little off. With the App Store exceeding the 100,000 apps mark, and the buzz surrounding the next generation iPhone just beginning, I’m pretty sure Google does not want to get into that battle. After all, it is safe to assume that the Nexus one will work with the Android Market, which last time I checked, stands on a laughable number of 15,000 apps. 15,000 might not seem too shabby, but compared to the iPhone’s 100,000, it is no competition.

The Nexus One will have a Snapdragon processor, which is significantly more powerful than the iPhone’s, but I am pretty sure no one has ever complained about the iPhone’s speed, so this will not be Google’s strong selling point.

No information I have come across discusses the Nexus One’s other features or hardware, but the pictures floating around indicate that it will be almost identical to the HTC Passion. It is a good looking phone, but again, its looks will not turn it into any kind of iPhone killer.


So what is all the buzz about? The answer is simple. Google is making a phone! This should not be confused with Android, which is software only and is simply used in devices manufactured by companies like HTC, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. Rumor has it, things will be different with the Nexus One. Google is supposedly involved with every aspect of this phone including its hardware. This is of course a  first for Google, and it reminds me of when Apple entered the mobile market.

Of course, the big advantage that the Nexus One will have over the iPhone and any other mobile platform for that matter, is its openness. The phone is not released yet, but it is pretty much a given that anything and everything about this phone will smell of “open”. However, speaking from experience, that will not be a determining factor in the phone’s success. Yes, there are those few consumers that will buy it as a protest against Apple’s jail-like experience, both in terms of iPhone OS and its app approval process. However, speaking from experience, consumers like to leave protests to politics, and when it comes to their mobile phone, user experience is what matters most.


The word on the street is that Google is deciding on every aspect of the Nexus One’s user experience, which might mean we will have a usability winner on our hands. However, combined with its 100,000 apps and its superb UI, I do not see any single device beating the iPhone at its own game. What the Nexus might beat are the Android phones.

Like I have said on many occasions, talking about the Android platform beating the iPhone is ridiculous. Android is a platform that is being used by a growing number of mobile devices, while the iPhone is one phone. However, there is what to talk about when it comes the Nexus/iPhone competition, in the same way there is room for debate regarding the Droid/iPhone game. However, seeing as the Droid, the Android OS, and the Nexus One are all designed by Google, it seems to me that the only one Google is competing against, is themselves. I am no business development expert, but that does not seem like the best strategy for a company to take.


In conclusion, the Nexus One is not out yet, so there are still a lot of question marks surrounding its capabilities and characteristics, but one thing is for sure, Google will have to develop one hell of a device for it to even affect the growing number of iPhone users around the world.

On the flip side, the fact that Google is entering another industry, and that this once small company that had a simple Web search engine now has departments that offer services in almost any aspect of our virtual lives, is a significant development. How this will affect the future of the mobile world is yet to be seen, but when Google enters a market, it is safe to assume that market is changed forever.

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Hillel Fuld is a global speaker, entrepreneur, journalist, vlogger, and leading startup advisor. He brings over a decade of marketing experience with leading Israeli and Silicon Valley startups, and currently collaborates with many global brands in an official marketing capacity including Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Huawei, and others.      Hillel covers the dynamic local tech scene for many leading publications including Entrepreneur magazine, Inc, TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat, and others. Additionally, Hillel mentors startups across Israel in different accelerators including The Google Launchpad, the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, Techstars, The Junction, and more.    Hillel has been named Israel’s top marketer, 7th top tech blogger worldwide, has been featured on CNBC, Inc, and was dubbed by Forbes as “The Man Transforming Startup Nation into Scale-up Nation”.       Hillel has hundreds of thousands of followers across the social web and can be found on Twitter at @Hilzfuld. You can learn more about him on his website:


25 thoughts on “Google’s Nexus One: Good For The Market; Bad for Google

  1. it sounds to me like google is treating their phone much like they treat everything else they create…and i don’t think they are merely trying to create buzz…

  2. If it can run background apps properly, it may be a winner. I am becoming more and more annoyed at the iPhone’s lack of background apps. If, for example, I am in an app (what I call a “continuous” app, like a navigation app for example), if I want to do a quick check on stocks or weather, I have to terminate the app, run the second app briefly, and ten return to my “main” app which often takes quite a while to completely reload. Sometimes I even have to re-enter a bunch of information as well!

  3. I like your comment about the name. Even if Apple took over the brand iPhone in a… let’s say complicated way, I’d expect a company called Google to come out with a better branding for a phone then a name that sounds like a name of a car.
    Apple have created an interesting line of branding based on the “i”. Google could have toyed with their own brand in a much sexier way.

    As for hype and competition – I am waiting for a phone that will act like an iphone but will cost a lot less. The current price range for both the instrument and the packages is crazy. The next hype should be about affordable.

  4. Could this article BE anymore biased towards the iPhone. The market NEEDS competition, and Google hopefully will bring that to the table with a great handset and set of services to go with it. The iPhone kicks ass, but as they say in the tech industry, “as good as you may be, there is ALWAYS someone better…”

  5. Thanks a lot for commenting people. Mark, I agree with you completely, that is the main reason I do not use an iPhone but rather a BlackBerry. Or Tal, what you said is very true, Apple does a great job with their marketing and branding, Google could learn a thing or two. Chros, not biased, I do not even use an iPhone, the fact of the matter is that between its UI, its apps, and overall user experience, it is the superior mobile platform today. Do you not agree?

  6. I agree that this article reads as overly biased towards the iPhone… even if you don’t use one. PLENTY of people have complained about the iPhone’s “speed”, which is nothing short of simulated in the commercials. Lack of background apps, proprietary everything… there is no phone I’d rather NOT have. Personally, I hope Google knocks it out of the part with this one.

  7. Haha, simple way of naming from Apple? iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S…? What’s next iPhone 3G S2, iPhone 3G ST, iPhone 4G…? 🙂

  8. I rated this article at 1 star.

    First, it just seems rather out of date, like you started writing it on Friday, finished it over the weekend, and posted it today. If you kept up with news on the Nexus One you’d know that the phone will likely be subsidized on T-Mobile with an early January release date. This is well in advance of, and in line with the price of, the iPhone 4.

    Second, I really don’t understand how the iPhone UI is so great. The UI is an application launcher, a bunch of colored boxes signifying programs. It barely provides any information: no upcoming calendar dates, what the weather is, etc. Android has an application launcher, as does every other cell phone OS out there.

    Third, I don’t understand why any phone OS needs 15,000 apps, let alone 100,000. You’re fetishizing quantity over quality. Most of the apps in the app store are 110% crap. I’d take 1,000 quality, useful apps over 50,000 pathetic ones. Also, considering the not unlimited storage on the iPhone, one likely only has 50-100 apps on their device at any one time. Oh, and you can only run each of them one at a time. Here’s an idea for your next post: time how long it takes to download all 100,000 apps and open and close each of them once.

  9. The real test will be security.

    The iPhone has not been hacked and the Google phone would lose much prestige if it were hacked in the first months of its release

  10. Thanks for the comments guys. Interesting to hear your points of view. This is not the first time I have been told I am biased toward the iPhone, but I think not admitting that the skeleton in Google’s closet, the phone they are clearly aiming to be is the iPhone, is simply denial.

    As for the out of date comment, I believe I mentioned Tmobile in the article “So, the latest rumors about the Nexus One is that Google is partnering with T Mobile on the release, but it will be unlocked to all GSM networks”, the article was written and posted yesterday based on the most current Nexus news at the time.

    In any case, thanks for the comments, appreciate it, even if this post warranted a low rating from you. Check out some others, maybe you will like them better. 🙂

    Also, feel free to connect on Twitter at

  11. @who

    Borrow an ipod touch and use it for a week and then come back and comment.

    But if you hate anything Apple then I have nothing to say.

  12. Apple may have more apps, but as previously mentioned, it’s quality over quantity. Does the IPhone have Google Voice, Google Goggles, Google Maps Navigation, Google SkyMap, etc?

    Because of their unexpected and unexplained denial of Google Voice, they’re now a second class platform for Google applications. That’s too bad, because they are by far the best apps developer around.

    I’ve been interested in Android since it was first announced, but I’ve avoided the platform because I felt it was not mature and still a work in progress. That and I’ve been pretty content with my Blackberry devices.

    But the Nexus One is the phone that will get me to switch. The OS finally looks mature, with really advanced features like voice to search and voice to text.

    Throw in the hardware specs which are as advanced as anything on the market (about twice the speed of the IPhone), and it looks to me like a surefire winner to me.

  13. Apple is about to be overrun. Why? Because with an onslaught of Android devices there will be an opportunity to try out many pricing models (subsidized, advertising, pay, etc.) in many different form factors (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) Also, Google’s app store at 15,000 apps is less than six months behind Apple’s, already provides most of the essential apps, and in the long run will likely have far more apps. Apple is an innovator, but in the long run the mobile space will be owned by Google’s Android.

  14. Is it really that obscure – the name of the phone – or did none of you watch freaking Blade Runner? Hello, Nexus One??

    It saddens me how out of touch with anything resembling culture this modern society is…

    Maybe their branding is just a bit too ‘hip’ for your sensibilities?

  15. @Slen
    I got the reference. Chuckled. Kept to myself.
    I agree though. Pop culture is either getting diluted by too much noise, or fading over too much time.
    Perhaps a little origami bird should be the splash screen.

  16. Wow, someone’s getting a little too personal. Since you did not address any of the core issues at hand, I will just say I do not even own an iPhone, and I am not getting one, despite it being offered to me for free, since I love my Bold.

    Regarding past articles, feel free to check out:

    All about The BlackBerry Bold and its Top 10 Apps:

    That is where I explain how I prefer the BB over the iPhone any day of the week.

    In conclusion, let me say, maybe I will write a post about the way one should comment on blogs. You broke every rule in the book…

    Thanks for reading though.

  17. Interesting perspective.

    To the contrary, Apple started national TV advertising six full month before the first iPhone was available to generate buzz. The first ads appeared right after Steve Jobs introduce it on Jan 9th, 2007. By the time the iPhone was available in the USA on June 29th, the public have a perception that iPhone was so easy and intuitive to use, and the buzz around it was unmatched. Apple is the master of marketing.

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