Google Nexus One - Center of Attention


Upgrading the Android

Besides its status as the first phone under the Google brand, what makes the Nexus One so special amongst us tech geeks? The simple answer lies within - the Android OS. Throughout the last year, we've seen a multitude of updates across the Android platform, dating from its very first iteration, to the Cupcake (1.5), Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0/2.1) and the upcoming Froyo (Frozen Yogurt).

On the Nexus One, we have Android 2.1 running the show. While it might seem to be mostly a cosmetic makeover, it's more than that. Previous upgrades from the Android 1.6 OS includes features such as Text-to-Speech and a revamped Google Android Market. Needless to say, this will be retained in Android 2.1.

Within Android 2.1, the aesthetic changes are quite obvious. The basic layout is still the same, but loaded with refreshed icons and menu transitions across the pages. Likewise, pages are also increased from the original three, to five pages for widgets and apps loading.

Some of you might have heard the big news for Google Maps - free turn-by-turn navigation on its Android 2.0 and beyond devices. First seen on the Motorola DROID (or known as Milestone to us here), the Nexus One will also be equipped with a similar navigation dashboard interface, dubbed as Car Home on the menu. Before you do get excited about all the freebies that'll come with the Nexus One, take note that the turn-by-turn navigation isn't available outside of the United States. That said, if the Nexus One is available for purchase, there's also a slight chance that the service will also makes its way to our shores.

New widgets and home screen features will be seen on the Nexus One. Facebook, being one of the more popular social networking sites
, will be bundled within the Nexus One. More importantly, Facebook contact integration is also included within, thus building your contact base on the phone to include your social network. But in retrospect, there's still more areas for the the Nexus One to tap into, especially in the social networking realm. All that, can be easily replaced by the variety of free apps found on the Android Market.

And if you're easily dazzled by all that jazz, the Nexus One will feature Live Wallpapers, which are essentially animated wallpapers that reacts to touches on the home screen. As of now, Google has released the SDK for Android 2.1, one of which is the API for the Live Wallpaper feature. Safe to say, with the immediacy of apps publishing on the Android Market and the strong Android developer base, we could be looking at more Live Wallpapers in the near future.