Cell Phone Lady Time Travels To Charlie Chaplin Film

Freaky stuff. Or maybe it was just a 1920’s hearing aid?

The Google Phone Cometh, A Timeline Of Events

The blogosphere exploded with rampant speculation about the latest Android phone to poke its robot head out.  Here is the sequence of events that led up to what we know now.

The first mention of a Google phone came from The Street.com on October 20th.  Michael Arrington from Techcrunch heard similar rumors and really got the speculation started with their post The Google Phone Is Very Real. And It’s Coming Soon on November 17th. A leaked HTC phone roadmap gave us the specs for the Bravo on December 6th, which has also gone by another codename Passion.  The specs listed sound very impressive squashing any complaints of slow and pokey Android phones that have been released to date:

  • Snapdragon QSD 8250 1GHz CPU
  • HD 720p Video capture
  • 3.7″ WVGA AMOLED screen
  • 256 MB RAM or 512MB RAM
  • 16GB MicroSD card in-box
  • 1400mAh battery

Things were fairly quite over the next few weeks until all hell broke loose when several Googlers got their own employee version of the Google phone and tweets started flying out about the sleek device. @lhawthorn had the first say. It was being described as “A sexy beast. Like an iPhone on beautifying steroids” (@GreatWhiteSnark). All of the commotion and rumor-mongering caused Mario Queiroz, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, to put up a post on the official Google Mobile blog about how Google likes to “dogfood” its products for quick feedback.

A popular term on the interwebs is picture or it didn’t happen and Cory O’Brien holds the honor of posting the first picture of the device in the wild.  The previous tweets about how good-looking and sleek the device looked were confirmed.

First shot of the Google Nexus One phone

John Gruber from Daring Fireball revealed the name of the phone as the Nexus One by looking through logs of web browser user agent strings. Thanks to the name, it wasn’t long before Engadget dug up photos taken with the phone which were found on Google’s own photo sharing site Picasa. This proved a max resolution from the camera phone of 2592×1944 which comes from a 5 megapixel sensor.

Google Nexus One next to a Apple MacBook Pro

I noticed google.com/nexusone went to a different 404 error page compared to something like google.com/notnexusone. The Wall Street Journal published an article stating Google planned to sell its own phone direct to consumers early next year, as well as confirming the name Nexus One.

People weren’t sure which carrier this dream device would land on and initial rumors suggested it was to work unlocked on all 4 major U.S. carriers (quite a hefty feat). Hope for this slowly faded to just the two GSM carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile. The AT&T compatibility was from an anecdote by Jason Howell about how he saw a Google employee playing with it using an AT&T sim card.  Other leaked photos were showing a T-Mobile logo in the upper right. Peter Kafka heard from his sources that Google approached all 4 carriers about the phone but only T-Mobile agreed to help sell the phone.

Google does not intend to sell its new “Nexus One” phone the typical way, sources familiar with the company’s plans say. Instead, it envisions a scenario where customers who buy the handset on a separate Web site are provided with a list of carriers from which they can make a selection menu-style.

By the end of the weekend, Joshua Topolsky of Engadget tried to make sense of it all with a summary post titled The Google Phone: what we know… and what we don’t. He pointed out that there was no hard evidence that this phone was even for sale and postulated it was most likely the 3rd developer phone used for testing Android apps. That would be a major bummer.

Google Nexus One gets an Android facelift

Come Monday morning Engadget confirmed the device is compatible with T-Mobiles radio frequencies thanks to an FCC filing which also mentions the Nexus One name. A nice surprise is revealed that it supports UMTS/HSUPA meaning it is capable of taking advantage of T-Mobile’s faster 3.5G data service. (7.2Mbps down/ 2Mbps up). No mention of AT&T frequencies.

Reuters hinted at a January 5th launch date which coincides with the biggest consumer electronics show on the planet taking place that same leak. Mashable thinks this is going to be a huge CES announcement.

Boy Genius Report got two more shots of the phone in the wild. The first shows off the gorgeous (though still rumored not confirmed) 3.7″ AMOLED screen, while the second shows off the slender Nexus One next to chunky-monkey T-Mobile G1. It is interesting how the trackball sticks out kind of like the nipple on the Apple Mighty Mouse.

Google Nexus One Phone Screen

Google Nexus One compared with a T-Mobile G1

Finally, the Nexus One boot animation made its way to YouTube for all the phone nerds to drool over as they wait for more information to pour in.

So that pretty much sums up how we got to this point. I’m anxious to see what else is revealed as we inch closer to a launch date.

Which Android Phone Is For Me?

Android has been really gaining steam these past couple of months. Yesterday, Techcrunch posted a thorough list of Android phones covering everything current through the rumored ones.  It’s great to see everything laid out in one place which highlights one of the platforms strengths: diversity. Some are big, some are small, some have keyboards, some are all screen. The downside is finding the right phone which encompasses everything I want.

Android Comparison Chart

Nearly a year ago I said all I wanted was “a Dash form factor running the Android OS with 3G support.” A lot has changed since then, including my expectations of phones. It is clear the Dash form factor won’t be coming with Android anytime soon. Rectangular screens are the norm which is better for web browsing and typing messages. Every Android phone being released from now on has 3G support since smartphones are built with higher-margin data plans in mind. Carriers like that. So it should be no problem finding an Android phone for me, right?

Wrong. The only Android phones available as of this writing are the G1 and the myTouch3G, both of which are on T-mobile. They both have been labeled as “slow” and somewhat clunky. I played with the myTouch3G for a bit and realized the screen is too small for a phone with no keyboard. The upcoming Motorola Cliq looks like it could be the phone for me. Reviewers deem the keyboard quite good, solid build quality, and great social networking integration. The biggest problem I see? It uses the same Qualcomm 528MHz ARM11 processor the other two Android phones use. Engadget has an excellent overview of mobile processors powering all these Android devices which sheds some light as to why this processor is less than ideal.

Comparison of ARM chips

If I get the Cliq, I’ll be locked into a 2 year contract based on current plans offered by T-mobile (this could change soon thanks to Project Dark.) Between now and then I expect to see a heck of a lot more powerful phones come to market and I would have to pay a lot more to get out of my contract in order to upgrade. As phones get more powerful, widgets will start to become more demanding as they take advantage of this power. I just don’t think now is the time to commit to a phone being pushed out with past-prime tech that barely runs now. Perhaps I’m just being a bit too critical.

But alas the Verizon Droid is being touted as the first real iPhone competition from the Android camp. It uses a newer processor design, comes with a huge display, includes a physical keyboard, and it will be the first phone to come out with Android 2.0 and all the new features that come with it. This phone should be available to the public in November. The downside to this is Verizon plans are expensive, especially their data plans.

So in the end, I’ll continue to sit out of the Android game and squeeze more life out of my T-Mobile Dash running on the ancient Windows Mobile 5. As soon as I’m about to make a decision rumors swirl that something better is just around the corner. Sure it will always be like that, but Android is still in it’s infancy and competition is starting to heat up.  One of these days, some company will find the right combination.

Two Unreleased Gadgets That Caught My Eye

Zune HD

Yup, I’m a Zune fan. Gizmodo has a video of the buttery-smooth animation used in the Zune HD interface.

I’m sold after it comes out this fall.

HTC Magic

The successor to the T-Mobile G1 has been unveiled by Google who gave out 4,000 of them to the attendees of the I/O Conference. After further prodding it is revealed that the phone uses a T-Mobile SIM card which pretty much seals the deal that it will land with the magenta carrier.

HTC Magic G2

Initial reviews indicate the battery life is acceptable, lasting at least through the work day with 3G on. This covers two of my three requirements for a new phone.

No word on when this phone will officially launch.

T-Mobile Has 3G But No Phones

T-Mobile has had their 3G service up and running for over a month here in DC. My 2 year contract that I got with my T-Mobile Dash expired on Halloween of this year. So technically you could say I’m in the market for a new cell phone. The problem is there aren’t any phones that I’m particularly excited about. I would like a 3G QWERTY keyboard phone that I can surf the web and take pictures with. It sounds simple, but there are surprisingly few options.

There are only two official phones from T-Mobile that meet those needs: the Samsung Behold and the T-Mobile G1. The Behold lacks Wifi and the supposed real web browsing is mediocre. The G1 is the new Android-powered phone that everyone made such a hoopla about a month ago. A friend of mine has a G1 and says the battery life is abysmal. After playing with it for a couple of minutes I felt impressed but not knock-me-down I must have this NOW. If I did get a G1, I would certainly get it from Walmart where it sells for $50 less than T-Mobile.

T-Mobile G1

Other options include an unlocked Nokia phone. The E71 looks like a great contender though it is more expensive and doesn’t support T-Mobile’s 3G spectrum. Drats!

Nokia E71

Looks like I’ll just keep on waiting for something more interesting to come along. I mean is a 3G QWERTY phone with decent battery life too much to ask for?