Analyst Questions Success Of Google Nexus One Mobile

MobilityOpen SourceSoftware

Google is saying loud and clear what its intentions are for the Nexus One smartphone — the blogosphere just chooses to ignore it, says one analyst

If the rumors are to be believed, the Google Nexus One smartphone should be stocked high on retailer shelves come January.

There’s no doubt that Google has given its employees a phone to try out — reportedly an HTC-made handset running a new version of Google’s OS, Android 2.1 — with a “we should eat our own dog food” attitude.

Mario Queiroz, Google’s vice president of product management, wrote in a company blog post that Google is using the phone as a “mobile lab,” and that it “shared this device with Google employees across the globe. This means they get to test out a new technology and help improve it.”

However, while some Android enthusiasts are taking the news that the phone covers quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE with UMTS/HSUPA on 850/1,700/1,900 frequencies as cause to celebrate that it’s likely to arrive on the T-Mobile or AT&T networks, others aren’t pulling out their party hats quite yet.

“It is highly unlikely that this phone will ever be offered to the general consumer, let alone sold by Google directly to end users,” Jack Gold, an analyst with J. Gold Associates, wrote in a 14 Dec. research note.

“Rather, I believe Google’s intent, and a good move on its part, is to provide a development platform and trial/Beta device to thousands of its own employees and ecosystem partners (developers),” Gold continued. “It’s doing this to test out the latest and greatest version of Android (V2.1), in a relatively controlled space, so Google can get feedback and make improvements.”

Gold added that as talented as Google’s developers and ecosystem partners may be, there are always bugs to work out, and so much the better to let discreet employees discover them than consumers and the media.

“Testing is the path that Google has chosen for this device… [It] has even said so a few times, but it seems that the blogosphere doesn’t believe them,” Gold wrote.

Gold, whose firm covers several aspects of consumer computing and emerging technologies, additionally makes the point that — Samsung, HTC and Motorola, relax — a phone made available directly to consumers would hurt some of Google’s relationships with important partners, and that it’s not likley to “bite the carrier-hand that feeds it.”

“I believe when the dust settles in the next few weeks, we’ll see that Google, like the good engineering company it is, wants to get a significant number of devices into the hands of actual users,” Gold wrote. “And what it learns from these testers will make the next version of the Android OS all the better for it.”

Though Android has been slow to gain supporters in Western Europe, its worldwide market share continues to climb. To date, the Motorola Droid is considered the crème of the considerable assortment of Android-running smartphones.

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