“Google plans to begin selling its own smartphone early next year, company employees say, a move that could challenge Apple’s leadership in one of the fastest-growing and most important technologies in decades.”
Were it not for the fact that I actually got to play with one this evening, I’d be echoing the sentiments of skeptics, those who would have honed in on the phrase “company employees say” in the above quote and dismissed the article as falling prey to the Android PR Hype Machine: Who exactly are these anonymous company employees?
Interestingly, 10,000 employees got the Google phone (a.k.a. Nexus One) and were told to keep it a secret, but because it’s not so secret anymore, my friend let me play with it. It was only for a few fleeting moments, so I could only judge the phone by its cover, but boy, what a cover!
It had beautiful curves that felt just right in the palm; nothing like that boxy Droid. I couldn’t place what material was used for the exterior shell, but it felt classy.
The interface was definitely less clunky than I’ve seen in predecessors. It has the usual Google search bar on the home screen, but they’ve added some nice visual touches. On one screen, they showed a vertically scrolling grid of app icons. The really slick thing about that screen was how the icons would distort at the edges of the screen as if they were rolling off a curved edge of a table.
Blackberry users, don’t throw away yours just yet, as there didn’t appear to be a keyboard — just remember that I’m an iPhone user, so I typically don’t think to look for one. The touchscreen was large but still no support for pinch or zoom gestures on images.
It’s too early to say if this phone is going to be a hit, but it makes a good first impression.
Update: photo of Google’s Nexus One posted on twitter (also above) and the “official” word.