Google’s Humble New Strategy for its Distinctly Non-Revolutionary Nexus S

by Matt Klassen on December 7, 2010

With so much having gone wrong for its much anticipated premiere entry into the smartphone world, the Nexus One, no one would blame Google if it quietly and humbly backed out of the smartphone race altogether. But that’s not really Google’s style. So after months of speculation, leaks, and rumours, Google—in partnership with Samsung—has finally unveiled its latest smartphone effort, the Nexus S.             

While it’s no longer the Nexus 2—if it ever really was—Google has officially rolled out the successor to its semi-popular Nexus One. While the phone itself is really nothing out of the ordinary, it’s clear that Google has learned several lessons from its experience with the original Nexus One, scuttling the Nexus One failed online only availability plan and toning down the “best smartphone on the market” language in favour of a distinctly more mellow and stripped down approach.

But with its grandiose plans for the Nexus One having gone up in smoke, will Google have more success with a simple and straightforward plan for its distinctly non-revolutionary Nexus S?

Clearly throwing away its Apple-like plan for the unveiling of the Nexus One, which saw an over-hyped gala-style event and copious amounts of over-the-top predictions boasting the complete upheaval of the mobile market, in what strikes me as the understatement of the year, Google has toned its marketing campaign down a littlefor the Nexus S, choosing instead to unveil its newest smartphone with a simple blog post.

While it remains to be seen if swinging the pendulum to the other side of the marketing hype spectrum will breed any more success for Google in the smartphone market, the official specs of the Nexus S show a competent and powerful Android phone, but one that is certainly not meant to be the flagship of the Android revolution, as the Nexus One was hyped to be. 

Further, it looks like Google has finally caved in to the demands of the mobile industry, quietly hoping that every one can just forget about the talk about “disruption” and “liberation” that accompanied the Nexus One. Back then Google wanted to shake things up, free customers from binding contracts, and end exclusivity deals between carriers and handset makers but offering unlocked phones on its now defunct online store. But as it turned out, the mobile industry wasn’t really interested in a revolution, and Google clearly wasn’t strong enough to manufacture one on its own.

With that said, fans of the Nexus One will be pleased to hear that the Nexus S will be available exclusively at Best Buy’s across the country just in time for Christmas—release date December 16th, on a two or year contract from T-Mobile.

The phone itself is really nothing out of the ordinary for a high end smartphone. It sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen with an advanced contour design that gives the phone an enhanced ergonomic feel when held against one’s face. Further, it features a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 16GB of internal memory, an interesting gyroscope—for more precise gaming—and compatibility with Near-Field communications—to act as a mobile wallet. This is all in addition to the standard 5-megapixel camera with HD video capture, a front-facing VGA camera, and of course running Android v2.3, Gingerbread; certainly a powerful but not over-the-top entry into the smartphone market.

So in the end, while the Nexus S won’t revolutionize the mobile market, it’s clear that Google doesn’t want it to, it will leave that up to future smartphone designs I’m sure. In the meantime, the Nexus S is a powerful and competent Android smartphone, one that I’m sure anyone would be delighted to see sitting under the Christmas tree.

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