Google's Nexus One: The Google Phone. It's being unveiled officially right now. We're here.
9.00am: We’re here. It’s cold.
9.14am: So, how excited are you guys for this phone after you’ve seen the hands on, all those photos and even a few videos? Hopefully Google will pull out a few unknowns at the event.
9.22am: If they say that this is a true unlocked phone that works on all four major US networks, THAT would be worth $US530.
9.43am: We’re inside. Google’s playing music (heard some Lady Gaga just now).
The way that logo is lit is a bit ominous.
There’s Andy Rubin, king of the Android team.
9.49am: Robert Scoble is rubbing his stomach seductively. It’s working.
9.51am: They’re now playing that new Black Eyed Peas song. You know, the one with absolutely no subtlety. Where every word only means what they say.
9.55am: Here’s a question for you: What do you think Madonna will look like when she’s 60?
9.58am: Now, the Killers are playing.
9.59am: If you come to enough of these things, you’ll start recognising all these people.
10am: One woman just forgot she was at a Google event and started dancing for a few seconds. Either that, or her back was itchy. UNDETERMINED.
10.02am: There’s a local ABC News lady here. How do I know she’s from ABC News? Other than the fact that her badge says ABC News, she has 10 times the makeup of any of the rest of us. That’s a feat, because I slathered it on this morning.
10.04am: It’s embarrassing when the music shuts off and you’re the only guy talking really loud. Right, guy behind me?!
10.05am: It’s starting (I think). How hilarious would it be if Steve Jobs came on right now?
Here’s Mario, VP of Product Development, to speak first.
“Today we will unveil the next stage in evolution for the Android.”
10.07am: Two years ago, Google and many industry leaders made the Open Handset Alliance. Now it’s grown to 52 members, and he’s announcing 13 additional members to the OHA.
10.07am: One year after the OHA announcement (last year), HTC and T-Mobile launched the G1.
Next was the myTouch 3G. Then, Google decided to put some powerful hardware in there to pump up the performance.
10.09am: Next was Droid. So they’re insinuating that this is the next step up from the Droid.
Now they have 20 devices, 59 carriers, 48 countries and 19 languages.
10.10am: In 2009, they had four major software releases. (The statues can be seen across the street next to building 44, which you’ve seen photos of already. They’re the donuts and eclaires and cupcakes.)
10.11am: Google says people search the web 30 times more on an Android phone than they do on a feature phone.
10.14am: One thing you might not know, that I heard from OEMs, is that Google will only certify devices for “Android” if it’s a phone, so other devices like the Nook won’t get Android certification, so it won’t be able to say that it’s an Android device. This means that they can’t get Android applications, and they don’t get access to some secret libraries that Google only limits for devices that are certified.
10.15am: Not sure how Android netbooks fit into this scheme.
Here’s the next step in the Android evolution.
Google says that they will focus on specific projects with their partners in order to push innovation in the general marketplace. For example, with Motorola on the Droid (and the Cliq).
10.17am: One of the questions they asked themselves was, “What if we work even more closely with our partners to bring devices to market to showcase the great software technology we’re working on at Google?”
Today, they’re announcing the Nexus One. (Yes, it’s called Nexus One). The tagline is: “Where web meets phone.”
And it’s an “exemplar” of what’s possible on phones with Android.
10.18am: They’re calling this “superphones”, as a category of devices.
“The Nexus One was designed in very close partnership with HTC.” He’s welcoming Peter, CEO of HTC, onto the stage.
Peter Chou is on stage now.
HTC has shipped seven Android products, if you count the Nexus One.
Peter says it’s one of the best industrial designs from HTC, and it has a 3.7-inch AMOLED display.
It has the “strongest” processing power, with Snapdragon on board.
Peter’s stepping off stage, but not before holding up the phone one last time for people to get pictures of. Now, we’re going to take a “closer, live in-depth look at the Nexus One”.
10.23am: Basically, going through the hardware specs and features and then demoing some software.
The front is a 3.7-inch display, 480×800 display. Under the hood is a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It’s very fast (and we saw that firsthand in our hands on).
Then there’s a multi-colour notification trackball that shows different colours when various events happen.
Light and proximity sensors, compass, GPS and accelerometer are all on board.
The thinness is thinner than a #2 pencil, and lighter than a Swiss Army keychain knife.
The back of the phone has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, as well as MPEG4 videos. Also, one click upload to YouTube.
10.28am: There’s also Stereo Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack (four contact points for microphone AND remote), and active noise cancellation. Two microphones on the Nexus One, one on the bottom and one on the back for noise cancellation for calls.
You can also get custom engraving on the metal bezel on the back-bottom of the device.
10.29am: Hardware is “half the story”. “With the Nexus One it’s not hardware alone, it’s a good marriage of hardware and software.”
10.30am: Here are some software innovations. N1 is running on Android 2.1. All the droid apps are included on the Nexus One in 2.1, so all the Facebook, Google Maps driving and various other Droid features are present.
10.31am: Customisation. Before now, you had home screen wallpapers and widgets, but now you have five screens for home screen panels in order to let you add more shortcuts and widgets.
10.32am: One he wants to emphasise is the news and weather widget, which grabs feeds of news as well as location-aware weather.
But Google now has “Live Wallpapers”, which are the animated/interactive ones that we saw in the hands on. First he’s demoing water. Leaves are falling onto water, dynamically, and will ripple when the leaves make contact. Plus, if you press your finger down, you can make ripples.
Next up is media and 3D. The wallpapers take advantage of 3D frameworks on the Nexus One.
The new app launcher isn’t a drag-and-pull menu, instead, you press the button and the icons zoom into place, and the icons are kind of in a scroll wheel.
Next up is Gallery, which is a “new visualisation for photos”. It gives you a depth to your photos. For example, if you tap on an album, the photos zoom out and load on a 3D plane when you move the phone around. Not sure how functional it is, but it’s fun looking.
Albums are automatically clustered by time, date and location.
You can also background-sync this to Google’s Picasa web albums.
10.39am: The next highlight in the Nexus One is voice.
Search by Voice was launched earlier this year letting you search just by talking. And then, Voice Command came later with the Verizon Droid. So now you can say “Navigate to Ikea”, and it will know where you are, and show search results in order to give you turn by turn navigation directions.
That was with 2.0. But what if you can use voice on every text field on the phone? They voice-enabled every text field in the device.
Now he’s dictating a text that actually came out correctly. The voice recognition service is being handled on the back end, and works fast to deliver results.
10.42am: Here’s a special app that hasn’t launched yet, but he’ll give a sneak peek today. It’s Google Earth for Android.
Like on the desktop, you can zoom the earth around and zoom into your location.
So with Google Earth on the Nexus One, you can fly around through mountains and other terrain in “Flyaround mode”, just like you can in the browser or on the desktop. It uses the 3D framework he mentioned earlier.
And with voice search, you can search for stuff in Google Earth as well with your voice.
10.45am: Mario is back on stage, and says that it belongs in a class of device called “superphones”. How are they going to bring this to market? Here’s a “new way to purchase a consumer phone”. Through a Google web store.
Their focus is a “simple purchasing process” and a “simple offering of plans from operators”. Through the web store, you can buy a phone without service, or with service from a partner. If you buy it with service, you’ll get a discount and it will be comparable to high-end smartphones on the market.
You can purchase a phone with service today from T-Mobile USA.
10.47am: They plan to add more devices, like phones from Motorola, to their web store. And add more countries. Here are some new screens of the store.
10.48am: Here’s another announcement: Verizon and Vodafone agreed to join the “program”.
So, here’s the store. You can click through a live demo of the phone by clicking on the different icons if you want to play with the phone before you buy.
Price: $US530 for an unlocked phone, $US180 on T-Mobile. Verizon is coming for Nexus One in Spring 2010. And Vodafone as well, Spring 2010.
10.50am: Again, you can get a Nexus One on Verizon in Spring 2010 (soon!). And if you can’t wait for a Verizon phone, you can get a Droid now. They have a link on the page for the impatient.
10.51am: Going through the purchasing process, you need a Google account and a Google Checkout account.
The next screen is engraving your phone, if you want to do so. As you type the characters it will appear on the phone so you can see what it looks like.
10.53am: After a confirmation screen, you’re pretty much done. (Pretty simple store!)
They’re launching the web store in the US, and will be shipping to test markets: UK, Singapore and Hong Kong. The plan in the future is to add more operators in the US and internationally, as well as more devices.
The Nexus One is the first in a series of phones in the new web store model.
10.55am: “We’re really really psyched about this new model!”
“We’re so psyched…”
And now a Nexus One demo video that went through all the things we just covered in the last half hour, but with a background track.
Now, a Q&A.
Q: Why 512MB for app storage only? A: They store apps in the internal ROM and not on the SD card now, for piracy reasons, but they will offer an upgrade soon for installing apps on the SD card.
10.59am: Q: Will the phone ship today? A: Yes, it ships today. But if you want an unlocked version, you can use it on any GSM provider like AT&T.
11am: But, because of different 3G frequencies it’ll run on EDGE speeds on AT&T. Not 3G.
11.01am: Q: Is this an iPhone killer? A: We’re calling it a superphone, but the message isn’t to the iPhone, it’s to consumers. “Choice is a really good thing.”
11.03am: Q: What are you going to do about making the App Marketplace more known, as opposed to Apple’s app store? A: Their marketing for Nexus One will initially be online. They’re using all the online advertising tools, and will include all parts of the phone, including the Android Market.
11.04am: Q: Why was it necessary for Google to design the phone? Why couldn’t it just be an HTC phone running the new flavour of Android? And will these new features becoming to Droid? A: It’s inaccurate to say Google designed the phone (points to HTC CEO). [Google]is just merchandising it online. Everybody will get 2.1 when it’s open source, within a couple of days.
11.09am: Q: What are the revenue opportunities for Google? A: It’s about advertising. There is a small margin on unit sales, but making sure people get access to Google services and get online is their #1 priority.
11.10am: The device has Wi-Fi, but they haven’t locked down tethering.
11.14am: Q: This phone is your best phone, but it doesn’t have a physical keyboard. Does that mean a physical keyboard is dead? And, is Google going to retail other products online? A: The HTC strategy is that there are different people who prefer different form factors. This design focuses on the screen and the form factor, and has one of the best on-screen keyboard experiences. And on the software side there’s voice input. This is not the only device that is going to be part of the offering.
11.18am: Q: Why is there a US limitation on multitouch. A: HTC Droid Eris supports multitouch in the US. But we leave the option open, it’s a software thing. We’ll consider it.
11.27am: Q: How are you making the differentiation between superphones and smartphones, and will the Verizon Nexus One support CDMA + GSM, or just CDMA? A: The GHz and the gigabyte storage, and the various other software innovations makes it so that the industry needs a new term to refer to these phones. Some of the subsequent phones will be world phones, we’re very focused on that.
11.28am: My take: Basically, superphone is an arbitrary term, since phones are always evolving. What will the next step up be? Super superphones? Great phones? I don’t think superphones is going to take.
11.38am: In regards to future updates, they intend to upgrade every device to the best software version they can support. Not all phones and chips can support all software revisions, like not all old computers can run Windows Vista or Windows 7.
11.40am: In case there was any question, the Verizon Nexus One will be CDMA.
11.41am: Q: Are you going to still try to port Google Voice to the iPhone, or are you going to suppress that for your own efforts? A: We’re not the Google Voice team, but that team isn’t opposed to having their application work on other platforms.
Q: You used to say no Google Phone, what happened? A: I was very precise in what I said. I said Google won’t build hardware, and they will always work with partners.
11.42am: That’s it, thanks for reading! Check the main Gizmodo page for more coming up.