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.

A Few Thoughts On The TechCrunch 50 Finalists

TechCrunch 50 Logo

Today was the first day of the 2nd annual Techcrunch 50 conference. The goal of the conference, dreamed up by entrepreneurs Micahel Arrington and Jason Calacanis, was to promote 50 great start-ups to the “industry’s most influential VCs, corporations, fellow entrepreneurs and press.” They also hoped to eliminate the fee for start-ups to present like other conferences.

Today they announced the 50 finalists where a few companies caught my eye right off the bat.

Fitbit Logo

Fitbit wants to make living a healthy lifestyle easier. The company is developing an “ultra-compact” wearable sensor that transmits various data (like calories burned, quality of sleep, number of steps, and distance) to it’s website for analysis. The wearer can track data and mark their progress as they strive to reach personal goals.

This product resonates with me. I’ve been trying to keep track of my health, like what I eat and how much I weigh, but it becomes tedious. A small, compact device that can do a lot of the tedious recording for me is certainly welcome.

Yammer Logo

Yammer is like Twitter for companies. Instead of answering “What are you doing?” Yammer wants you to answer “What are you working on?” The service is more secure than public micro-blogging services because you can only join a network if you have an approved e-mail domain. The hope is Yammer will be a central repository which can archived and searched will make everyone more productive.

I would find something like this useful to keep tabs on what projects my co-workers were working on without being a nosy micro-manager. The problem is older people don’t really get Twitter so it would be a tough sell to get everyone on bored. Younger works already update what they’re doing on Twitter and other micro-blogging services albeit a little more obscure.

Popego Logo

Out of all the websites of the Techcrunch 50 finalists that I visited, Popego looked the best. The service sounds vague according to the Techcrunch description: “Surfaces the most meaningful information from within your social graph based on your interests and other factors.”

Blah Girls Logo

Blah Girls probably had the biggest buzz of the bunch because it is being pitched by Ashton Kutcher. The premise is “a gossip site that features a group of animated teenage girls who provide opinions on what’s going on in the world of entertainment.” I’m curious to see an episode or two to see if it is worthy of joining my video podcast playlist.

Shryk Logo
Finally, the biggest WTF award goes to Shryk. How is their name pronounced? Shrike? Shreik? I have no idea. The goal of the company is something I can get behind however. They hope to promote financial literacy and good saving habits among teens/tweens with web based software built specifically for that age group.

Playce Logo

There are many more companies I didn’t have a chance to get to either for lack of time or because the company just sounded flat out stupid. Like PlaYce, which aims to go head-to-head with the often misunderstood Google Lively. Browser based virtual worlds seem like such a losing proposition.

It will be interesting to see who the Techcrunch50 judges pick as the most interesting startup of the conference.

Crunchbase links for the start-ups mentioned: