Google played it smart unveiling the Nexus One smartphone, the latest Google Android offering, while CES is in full swing in Las Vegas. Why not take the opportunity to steal a little thunder away from all of the other device makers looking to make a splash on one of the world's biggest consumer technology stages?
And it worked. The Web and tech news outlets exploded with word of what the Google team had hatched with the Nexus One smartphone.
But here's the rub: The Google Nexus One smartphone is a flavor of the week. They hype is going to die and the device, despite how cool and powerful, will crawl back under the shadow of the all-encompassing Apple iPhone.
Why will the Google Nexus One fail to live up the hype? Here are three reasons:
1. T-Mobile will be the Nexus One's first carrier. T-Mobile has fallen to No. 4 behind the big three carriers -- AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. And, despite T-Mobile recently completing upgrades to its 3G network to boost speeds to up to 7.2 Mbps, its network coverage through the U.S. isn't as pervasive as its competitors. The network can be the fastest in the world, but if you can't catch a 3G signal, all the speed in the world won't help. Granted, the leap to Verizon that the Google Nexus One smartphone is expected to make a few months after launch will help, but by then its time on T-Mobile may have worked against it. And, yeah, for a few extra bills an unlocked version is available, but that's a spicy meatball for an as yet unproven device.
2. Google Android isn't quite there yet. Google Android has made great strides since it made its October 2008 debut in the T-Mobile G1. A host of hot Android phones have since hit the market, most recently the Motorola Droid, which has captured the hearts of Google Android lovers everywhere. But Android hasn't evolved enough to reach the iconic status the Apple iPhone has reached. Despite Android phones getting slicker from a hardware standpoint, the software hasn't kept up. While the Nexus One is coming equipped with Google Android 2.1, so far Android hasn't proven itself as a strong enough contender in the OS race. That could all change, but right now Google Android is still a "me too" play.
3. Potential buyers are already suffering Google Nexus One fatigue. This smartphone has been inescapable. Everyone thought Apple went overboard with its product placement, advertising and marketing for its initial iPhone launch, which has been scaled back with each subsequent iPhone release. But Google is beating the proverbial dead horse. Granted, all of the media attention is part of the problem too. But take a look at the main Google search page today. Do you see it? Yup, there it is. Just under the "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky" buttons it reads: "Experience Nexus One, the new Android phone from Google" with a thumbnail-size image of the Nexus One and a link to more information. While a brilliant placement and marketing ploy, users will grow tired of being bombarded with Nexus One branding and consumer fatigue can often hurt sales.