Google has asserted itself in the smartphone market with the release of its Android operating system, and more recently, a free, full-featured turn-by-turn navigation application. It now appears that the long-rumored hardware component – a Google-brand smartphone – may be set for release in early 2010. Alternatively, the prototype may simply be a test bed for Android products, with no intention of release for sale.
Reports of a capacitive touchscreen Google smartphone (with no physical keyboard) began surfacing recently, as select Google employees were provided with Google-branded phones made by HTC, similar to the Android OS HTC Bravo/Passion (see photo) to be released in the North American market in early 2010. The phone’s development name is Nexus One.
Google has now confirmed that the phone it gave to employees is a prototype “mobile lab, which is a device that combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities, and we shared this device with Google employees across the globe. This means they get to test out a new technology and help improve it.”
So far, the rumored specs of the phone include: Runs Android 2.1 OS; thinner than an iPhone; isunlocked; based on the HTC Passion/Bravo (see photo, thanks to TheUnlockr.com), which has not been released in the US yet.
Based on existing offerings, GPS features of the new Nexus One Google phone would include:
??? * Built-in GPS chip.
??? * Free Google Maps Navigation
????? Google Maps Navigation provides some familiar services, and brings some new innovations to navigation. The software provides spoken, turn-by-turn directions, including text-to-speech to help you navigate without looking at the screen.
??? * Google Maps Navigation’s “search by voice.”
??? * Traffic detection and avoidance feature – already built into Google Maps mobile.
??? * Google Maps Navigation satellite view and street view features. You are likely familiar with both of these features from using Google Maps. Think about having them on board as you navigate and approach your destination or critical exit ramps and intersections. They are powerful additions to the mobile navigation mix.