In an earlier post we pondered whether Apple (AAPL) was trying to steal some of Google’s (GOOG) thunder today. If that was truly its goal, it failed miserably.
Apple bragged this morning about selling three million apps, then the news about the acquisition of mobile ad company Quattro Wireless hit the wires. But all of it has been dwarfed by the unveiling of Nexus One, Google’s hip new super smartphone.
Reviews of Google’s device are starting to pour in, and most of them are extremely positive. WSJ’s Walt Mossberg calls it the “bold new face in super-smartphones” and says it’s the first phone he could consider carrying as his everyday hand-held computer.
“I like it a lot,” he says, noting it could attract people away from their iPhones or BlackBerrys.
TechCrunch says Nexus One is “a superior mobile device” that doesn’t have any obvious flaws or compromises. Engadget is also positive about the device, saying its “up their with the best of the breed.” But the blog remains a bit guarded and isn’t ready to give it a perfect-10 review.
“It’s not in any way the Earth-shattering, paradigm-skewing device the media and community cheerleaders have built it up to be,” blog says, noting if it had to choose between Nexus One or the Droid, it would choose the latter.
For what it’s worth, I had the opportunity to play around with Nexus One a few weeks ago but wasn’t at liberty to write about it at the time. I’m certainly not a phone wizard, but it was sleek and definitely seemed on par, if not better, than the iPhone.
While the unveiling of the much-hyped Nexus One has generated a lot of buzz, Google’s business model for the phone may actually have a greater impact on the mobile industry. Google choosing to sell the phone directly to consumers on its website, and not through a local phone store, may mark the beginning of wireless carriers losing their grip as distributors of mobile devices. Silicon Alley Insider’s Dan Frommer explains:
How this helps Google is that it gets to market and sell phones to you in a marketplace without competitors — no iPhones, BlackBerries, or Palm Pres here — and gives carriers and incentive to compete over you, the customer.
In a typical mobile phone store, it’s exactly the opposite. You’ve picked your carrier for whatever reason — under contract, store location, nice carpeting — and then you have to pick between phones.
To be sure, most folks are used to buying their phones in an AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), or Sprint Nextel (S) store, so it’ll probably take a while before Google will sell a lot of phones directly to consumers. Old habits die slowly, which is probably why Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha says Google’s Web store and the Nexus One are “not a threat.”
“But it’s a smart, potentially disruptive move on Google’s part, even if it makes some of its partners mad,” Frommer says. “Someone needs to shake up the carrier-dominated distribution model. And of anyone in the industry, Google has the least to lose — and among the most to gain.”
Google shares closed down 0.4% at $623.99.