Tony Cripps, Principal Analyst, Ovum
AUSTRALIA: With over 200,000 Android handset activations a day, the launch of a new Google-branded handset is really little more than a sideshow compared with the broader impact Google is having on the mobile market.
Google was always likely to try selling own-branded smartphones again, despite the underwhelming performance of the original HTC-produced Nexus One. There’s very little reason for Google not to pursue its own devices and there’s a lot it can learn from doing so. However, whether the new Samsung-built Nexus S can establish itself among the Android handset elite or – better still – claw consumers away from Apple’s iPhone, remains to be seen.
“Certainly Google has handed itself few advantages over its Android rivals that will help differentiate its latest smartphone. On the hardware side only its slightly curved ‘contour display’ and pioneering support for near field communications (NFC) really stand out among the Android masses. Or will the promise of being the first Android device owners to benefit from the faster performance and new features of version 2.3 of Android, better known as Gingerbread, be enough?
Others won’t be far behind on any of these features so on the face of it there seems insufficient reasons to pick the Nexus S over its brethren, especially if price is an issue. A lot will depend on how effectively Google’s retail partners for the launch – Best Buy in the US and Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy in the UK – market and position the device relative to other Android phones.