Google unveils new mobile phone
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Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management for Google, holds up the Nexus One smartphone running on the Google Android platform, the first mobile phone the Internet company will sell directly to consumers, during a news conference at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Photo credit: Robert Galbraith/EPA
Internet giant Google just unveiled the Nexus One, a smartphone that it bills as the connection between the phone and the Web, at a news conference this morning at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. A company spokesman said the smartphone is the next step in Google’s ambitious strategy to spread its dominance on personal computers to the emerging market of mobile advertising and products.
Key to that strategy is pushing for devices that smoothly run Google’s growing number of consumer products.
Erick Tseng, senior product manager, showed off some of the phone’s new features.
The phone weighs 130 grams, about as light as a Swiss army knife, and has a 3.7-inch display that has deep contrasts. The phone uses a Qualcomm processor.
It has a track ball at the bottom of the device. If you get an e-mail or new text message, the track ball changes color, flashing blue for Bluetooth, for example. It has a compass, GPS and a light sensor. The light sensor helps consumers save power by adjusting to indoor and outdoor light.
The camera with an LED flash has a one-click upload to YouTube. The phone also has active noise cancellation that gets rid of background noise. There is room on the back of the device to custom engrave with your choice of personal text. The phone also has consumer-friendly software such as Google Maps, Facebook integration and quick contacts.
Tseng said the phone also has more room for applications on the screen. A weather application, for example, knows where you are and tells you the temperature, humidity and weather conditions minute by minute.
He said Google expects more applications in the company’s application market. Consumers will also be able to create a live wallpaper. For example, an image of the surface of the pond in which the leaves fall onto the pond, creating ripples. If you tap on the water, you can create your own ripples.
Consumers will be able to buy the phone through a new Google Web store today. A spokesman said the store will offer a phone with or without service from T-Mobile. Google expects to add more devices and countries. Verizon Wireless in U.S. and Vodafone in Europe will eventually carry the phone, he said.
With service, the phone’s cost will be comparable to other phones, the spokesman said. The Web address for the store is www.google.com/phone. The store offers a 3-D tour.
The phone unlocked costs $529. With T-Mobile service contracts phones start at $179.
-- Jessica Guynn
[Corrected, 2:30 p.m.: In a previous version of this post, Erick Tseng’s name was misspelled as Sang]