Today, Google sealed the fate of its former flagship Android device, the HTC Nexus One, by announcing that the smartphone will no longer be available online from the search company’s own site.
This announcement finalizes Google’s plan to shut down its Web-based smartphone store after it failed to live up to expectations. Customer support will still be available in the U.S., and the device will continue to be available to Android developers. Additionally, the Nexus One will be sold through carrier partners in Europe, Asia, “and possibly others based on local market conditions.”
Though this formally ends Google’s attempt at directly selling Android smartphones to consumers; it also marks the device’s sixth month for sale, and a pivotal point in the Android timeline.
Innovations in mobile phones have been happening so rapidly, that a new smartphone remains on the cutting edge for about one year before it is replaced by something newer and better. In the case of Android devices, it sometimes happens in even less time.
The Nexus One was technically the first Android “Superphone,” since Google introduced the term when it launched the device in January.
But it proved to be more than just catchphrase marketing. Since that time, Superphone has become a genuine category in mobile devices as more phones with features similar to the Nexus One have entered the market.
Superphones have 1GHz or faster processors, multitouch-capable touchscreens 3.5″ and up, and high megapixel cameras. It’s a form factor that evolved alongside the Android operating system.
Most of the first generation Android devices (running versions 1.0-1.6) had 528MHz processors, smaller, single-touch screens, and cameras supporting around 3-5 Megapixels.
With the Nexus One, Google introduced Android 2.0, and the next class of Android devices. It was something akin to the Super Nintendo to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. There was a clear difference between the two.
Now that superphones have been on the market for six months, and Android has reached release 2.2, the major Android players –HTC, Motorola, and Samsung– have each contributed at least one superphone to the market, and are already looking forward to the next generation.