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I really don’t know if Google’s Nexus One is the “best Android phone yet,” but Om seems to think it is after 10 days of use. He points out some glaring challenges with the software keyboard and lack of seamless interaction after you leave the native […]

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I really don’t know if Google’s Nexus One is the “best Android phone yet,” but Om seems to think it is after 10 days of use. He points out some glaring challenges with the software keyboard and lack of seamless interaction after you leave the native apps, but I decided to take the plunge anyway.

Yesterday, I ordered an unsubsidized, unlocked Nexus One for $529 and it will arrive here in Vegas tomorrow. I’m heading to a local T-Mobile store later today for a SIM card. Here’s a couple of thoughts of why I went this route, based on some reader questions.

  • Why unlocked? Although the term “unlocked” doesn’t have much value here in the U.S. thanks to two GSM carriers using different data frequencies, it should help with the resale value of the handset itself. Not everyone wants a contract, so I paid the full price, thinking that if I don’t keep the phone it will be easier to sell later, and for more money than a locked phone.
  • Isn’t $529 a lot? Yes it is, but aside from the freedom of using any SIM card, there’s another benefit to pay the full price if I keep the phone for 18 months or more. Here’s the math: it’s a $350 difference between the subsidized phone and unsubsidized price. The T-Mobile plan for the subsidized, contract phone is $79.99 a month. That same plan with no hardware purchase is $59.99 a month. Both net you 500 minutes of voice and unlimited texting and web access. So my contract-free SIM will save me $20 a month over the same plan if I paid less for the phone up front. That means I’d be ahead of the game in the 18th month.
  • What if Palm brings big news for webOS at CES? Great question since I’ll be dumping the Pre for the new Nexus One. Hey, it’s not like I didn’t give fair warning. Buying the unlocked phone gives me cheap insurance in case I decide to keep the Pre. I can still sell the Nexus One and only lose a little money. I don’t anticipate this happening, but I’m covered. In fact, I can even return the phone to Google for a minimal fee if hot webOS news breaks this week.
  • Why now? Although I reviewed the T-Mobile G1 when it came out, I haven’t bought an Android device yet. I wanted to see how the platform evolved and I’m now comfortable with where it’s at and where it’s going. It didn’t hurt that T-Mobile is in the process of making their network faster either.
  • Why not wait for the device on Verizon? That’s probably the best question since I’ve always found Verizon’s coverage to be top-notch. In fact, I’ve used their EVDO service since my first CES in 2005. But T-Mobile’s coverage in my area has expanded quite nicely and I don’t do too much traveling beyond the sticks I live in. And then there’s the SIM vs no-SIM argument. By going with T-Mobile, I have the flexibility to use one SIM card in any number of devices. I’d lose that flexibility with Verizon and I’m also anticipating that the device won’t be contract-free when it arrives.

Although I don’t have the device in hand yet, I already know it’s not perfect. But it is Android evolved and I think there’s enough software and other tools to make it part of my daily productivity kit, based on my needs. Plus, I’m inclined to agree with Om — on paper for now, anyway — that in my opinion, this might be the best Android phone yet.

  1. also, and most importantly Kevin:
    You’re a Geek. It’s what we do.

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  2. Can’t you get the unlocked version of the Palm Pre that is overseas? That way you don’t have to worry about dumping any devices, just swap out the sim card.

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    1. Or wait for AT&T to release not one but two WebOS devices later this year :)

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  3. @Maurice – at least until Palm announces something, the Pre and Pixi are CDMA only, so no SIM card, and very little international use.

    I just bought a Pre myself earlier this week, actually, replacing my ancient Sprint Touch. This is the first time in many, MANY years I’ll be running something other than Windows Mobile (or Pocket PC or Windows Palm PC or a predecessor). In fact, I’ve been running Windows PDAs (and later phones) since the Jornada 320.

    So far, though, I really like the Pre and am very happy with it. It took me all of a day to root it and hack it to add Wifi tethering. I am disappointed in the Facebook app on it, however. It’s even worse than the Windows Mobile FB app, and that’s saying something. The iPhone/iPod Touch FB app blows them both out of the water.

    Of course, with Wifi tethering, I can now use my iPod Touch alongside my Pre just about anywhere, so I’m good. :)

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    1. I hear ya on that one about the Facebook app for the pre as i do have one and i like it alot, just wished it could have more apps, as the ones it has are somewhat weak. but nevertheless i do like the Pre, I use two facebook apps on it as one has more features as the other one, hopefully we”ll see an updated facebook app soon, and also, i would like to see WebOS on the HTC HD2, it could definately rock the smartphone industry but not close enough to the iPhone. Getting back to the topic of the Nexus One, is a cool phone, hopefully Sprint could be on the roadmap of getting it soon. Unless once again, Palm comes out with a faster WebOS device using the Snapdragon chipset. :)

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  4. Kevin, why the Nexus One? On Engadget’s website they tested it against the Droid and said that was only marginally better than the Droid. Yes, I know the Droid is not the best phone out there, but it is probably the best a better deal than any other Android device out there including the Nexus One. For me Nexus is bland, no pinch to zoom, and having to deal with Google to service the phone leaves little to be desired. Like you I am a big technology fan, but am I the only one who was dissatisfied with this phone? Me, I am hoping that Palm wow’s us at CES tomorrow. Palm come on, I know you got something great for us!!

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    1. Yea Mike, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Having to deal directly with Google sounds frightening. I would NOT recommend the Nexus One to anyone that isn’t technically experienced and able to figure out most issues on their own. Carriers don’t directly support Android, Google doesn’t directly support Android, and the Google support forums are filled with issues that get no help from Google reps.
      I don’t even want to think about warranty and hardware issues being handled by Google….

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  5. Verizon released a statement yesterday (boygeniusreport) stating the the nexus one will be solely sold by google (So I’m assuming it will be contract free).

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  6. Zack Lee Wright Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Om is the man !

    It’s about time you got on the Android bandwagon, you won’t be disappointed in the pace of AnDROID progress, specially compared to the snail-pace of WebOS software improvements.

    I have an iPhone 3GS (like you) and am also looking for a ..droid machine to play with (could be a tablet purchase also).

    Looks like I will be following your move, just like R2-D2 (droid) used to follow C-3PO (aka kevin).

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  7. The Nexus One looks OK, but I don’t know that it’s the best Android device yet.

    I’m not against using a device without a keyboard. However, if you’re going to go no keys, you need to have something that can do a decent job of imitating keys. The lack of multi-touch in this (and every other keyless Android device) is a deal breaker for me.

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  8. Kevin, the link to Om’s review seems to be broken, and I can’t find the the article on their site. Can you update the link?

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  9. That’s pretty good that your getting the Nexus One delivered at Las Vegas… can’t get any better than that. Keep us posted on how well it does with VOiP solution. This might work better now since all signal for phones don’t work as well.

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  10. I understand some of the attraction, but NO multi touch or physical keyboard is a big step backwards from the Pre in my eyes. I find the Android OS exciting and attractive (although less slick than iPhone or WebOS) and the processor on this device sounds amazing, but the form factor (meh), lack of multi touch and lack of physical keyboard make this a pass in my eyes. That said, I can’t wait for your review!

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