Google's introduction of the Nexus One, a phone to truly call its own, is a necessary move for the company. Only by taking ownership of the whole user experience will Google really be able to prove the value of its Android platform.
Nexus means a series of things connected together, an appropriate name for a phone where Google is taking more control of both the hardware and software, and therefore much more of the user experience.
We are at interesting inflection point with smartphones, a point where we have two competing development models playing out and a future in which probably only one will survive: Highly integrated, or highly modular.
Until recently, most smartphones have been modular affairs--with a few exceptions (BlackBerrys and to a lesser extent Palm Treos): hardware from one company, operating system and software from another company, wireless network from yet another. This has led to disjointed user experiences that have limited the appeal of the phones to more mass-market audiences. The success of the iPhone with mass consumers showed that it was vital to integrate all these elements together seamlessly (and that integration goes beyond the phone itself to content on the PC and in the cloud).
In the early stages of a category such as smartphones, the usage experience is often rough and incomplete. Early adopters will look past this, but until a more refined experience arrives that delivers the right recipe of capabilities, ease of use, and price, then the majority of people will stay away. I refer to this as an experience gap--a mismatch between what people want to do with a product, and what the products on the market can actually deliver.… Read more