Opinion: Why the Google phone and Android OS will own 2010

The Nexus generation of mobile entertainment

Opinion: Why the Google phone and Android OS will own 2010

Far be it for Pocket Gamer to go all tabloid-hypey-pants on you, but it’s fair to say that the internet is ablaze with news of Google’s officially stamped entrance to the mobile hardware world. The Nexus One is in the hands of Google employees and, boy, are they willing to Tweet about it.

We don’t even have specs for the thing yet, but the sleek HTC-manufactured handset is getting tech bloggers and journalists all hyped up.

Of course, we’re not immune to this excitement. Google is one of the few companies around today with the technical know-how, financial clout and sheer cool-factor to stand toe to toe with Apple (at least on a software level) and its seemingly unassailable iPhone.

With the Nexus One device on board, there’s every chance that 2010 could be Google’s year in the mobile market place. Here's a few reasons why.

1. Bring on the Nexus One

The Nexus One Google device looks like it’ll solve a major issue. The incessant Tweets emanating from Google employees and the people standing next to them on the bus/in the cue for a Mochafrochachino (I think that’s right) all point to a device that boasts completely integrated voice support.

That might not sound like much, but think about the one thing that puts a sizeable chunk of people off making the jump to a touch screen mobile solution. No, not the prohibitive price. Okay, the second think that puts people off making the jump to a touch screen mobile solution: touch typing.

The fact remains that no touchscreen typing display matches a good old fashioned physical button set-up. Conversely, the trouble with Qwerty sliders is that they add bulk and are, well, old fashioned.

Now imagine being able to dictate your text messages and emails directly. Obviously this wouldn’t be practical in every situation. As the unfortunate target of an irate gentleman sat opposite me on a train recently will tell you, jabbering away in confined public spaces is set to become the new smoking.

Still, it’ll all be worth it if it means the death of text speech.

2. To HTC or not to HTC?

HTC is making it, and it's one of the most improved handset manufacturers of 2009. Looking at the progress made from the great-to-use-but-built-like-a-£20-fake-Rolex T-Mobile G1 to the exquisitely elegant Hero, we have high hopes that the Nexus One will be a brilliantly constructed piece of kit.

Personally, I’m a little unconvinced over the styling – it looks a little bland in the photos – but then I wasn’t a fan of the Hero until I held one in the palm of my hands.

One thing’s for sure: at the end of 2009, there’s no longer any worries from the PG camp concerning HTC’s ability to produce an iPhone-rivalling handset.

3. The world's all Googley-eyed

Moving onto wider matters, Google is just about set to run our always-connected lives over the next decade. From reinventing online communication (Google Wave) to rewriting the outdated operating system with internet connectivity at its core (Google Chrome OS) to providing sat nav for free (Google Maps Navigation), we’ll be seeing a lot more of that multicoloured font over the coming years.

Providing a mobile phone that allows us to access this ‘cloud’ of data on the go, seamlessly and cheaply, makes perfect sense.

Of course, there are plenty of other phones and mobile operating systems that can and will continue to do this, but brand recognition is a powerful thing. Many people will assume that a Google device should be used to run their Google applications. If the Nexus One is the device we hope it will be, there’ll be little arguing with that logic.

4. Androids taking over

Android OS is an excellent mobile OS, and it’s improving all the time – Android 2.0 is almost unanimously held to be a major step up in terms of features and accessibility.

We mentioned at the outset that Google is one of the few companies capable of competing with Apple, and that particularly applies to its ability to create intuitive, attractive and functional yet uncluttered user interfaces.

Perhaps the best thing about Android OS is that, while it shares many features with the iPhone OS, it maintains a distinct Google identity. In an industry of ever increasing 'me too' efforts, that’s vital to its appeal and ongoing success.

5. There's too many of them

Nothing wins a war like sheer weight of numbers. It’s been estimated that there are around 50 Android handsets either in the works for 2010 or on the market already, from many of the major handset manufacturers. Besides HTC (who will continue to produce its own Android handsets in addition to the Nexus One), Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola have all produced and will continue to produce attractive handsets based on Android OS.

Even a company like Acer, which made its name in the PC hardware sector before making the logical step to Windows Mobile devices, has jumped on board with Android. The incredibly cheap Android OS adoption cost makes it an enticingly low-risk proposition for companies seeking a way into this tough industry.

When you factor in all these devices flooding the market –a market that contains only three iPhone handsets (the first of which is now looking rather dated) – a Google-dominated mobile phone industry starts to look like a matter of when, rather than if.

So there we have it. Google has the brand name, the strategy, the technical know-how and the relationship with hardware specialists to make 2010 its year for mobile dominance. While this is far from a forgone conclusion, if we were Apple we’d be sitting slightly less comfortably in our artfully sculpted chairs right about now.