Google Nexus One phone debut imminent

Tomorrow, Google will reportedly announce a smartphone that tops all other Android phones to date, but most of its secrets have already been leaked.

Gizmodo and Engadget have both spent time with the phone, unofficially dubbed the Nexus One. Google’s official story thus far is that the phone is a test device for its employees, intended to give them hands-on time with the Android mobile operating system. However, Google is holding an Android-related press event for January 5, probably to announce the phone’s launch.

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After spending some time with the Nexus One, Engadget said it’s “not really” the “the be-all-end-all Android phone / iPhone eviscerator” that tech pundits speculated it to be. It’s faster than previous Android phones, such as Motorola’s Droid, and it has a lightweight design and feel, but ultimately it’s just another step along Android’s evolutionary path.

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Should we be surprised? Of course not. The Nexus One has nice hardware, including a reported 1 GHz processor for superior speed, but it’s nothing we won’t see in plenty of other smartphones this year, including other Android offerings from HTC, manufacturer of the Nexus One. And as for software, the phone runs Android 2.1, which should ultimately turn up in other phones as well.

The thing that was potentially most exciting about the Nexus One, it’s pricing structure, is also shaping up to be a bust. The phone will reportedly be sold for $180 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile. An unlocked version will be available for $530, with T-Mobile users paying a pro-rated difference if they terminate their contracts early. But with 3G service only available on T-Mobile, the motivations for going to AT&T are slim, because you’d be stuck with the slower EDGE network, and the phone doesn’t include the wireless standards used by Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

That’s not to say the Nexus One won’t be the best Android phone on the market, but unless Google’s got a big surprise up its sleeve, the phone is nothing for early Droid adopters to kill themselves over.

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