Since announcing that I was leaving Symbian and picking up a Nexus One from Google, I’ve had countless discussions about why I chose this particular handset over others on the market that are newer. The answer is easy – it’s really the only option for AT&T customers who want a decent Android experience.
The other big guns in the Android ecosystem – the HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and HTC Droid Incredible – are all CDMA-based devices that won’t work on AT&T’s network at all, and don’t support the use of SIM cards. In fact, there are currently only 5 Android devices on the market today that support AT&T’s 3G network: the Motorola Backflip, the HTC Aria, the Nexus One, Motorola Milestone, and the Samsung Captivate.
The Motorola Backflip, HTC Aria, and Motorola Milestone don’t have the specs that I needed. Since my biggest complaint with my Symbian-powered smartphones is the overall speed and multitasking capabilities, I knew I needed to get an Android device powered by a 1GHz processor and with a minimum of 256MB of RAM. That instantly rules out the Backflip, Milestone, and the Aria, leaving only the Nexus One and Samsung Captivate. I also really wanted to have at least a 3.7-inch display.
With early reviews showing the Captivate (and its unbranded brethren, the Samsung Galaxy S) with stuttering and lags in the menus and applications, the Nexus One started looking even better. There’s a really active developer community and the Nexus One has already been officially updated to Android v2.2 – an update that the Captivate is slated to get, but no one really knows when. Also, the Nexus One has been the first device to receive previous new versions of Android, by virtue of it being ‘pure’ Android. Thus, it stands to reason that it’s much more likely to get whatever the next version of Android is – more likely than a manufacturer-customized handset like the Captivate is, at least.
Since I used my upgrade to pick up a RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 a few months ago, I was going to purchase either handset at full retail, so pricing wasn’t a factor in this comparison. To be honest, I ruled out the Samsung Captivate pretty quickly – with no flash for the camera and reviewers saying it stuttered, it doesn’t really offer me any benefits to go on. Oddly enough, the decision actually came down to the Motorola Milestone and the Nexus One.
The Motorola Milestone is the GSM variant of the Motorola DROID offered on Verizon. It’s roughly the same price as the Nexus One, but I’d have to import it – it’s only officially sold in Canada. While the Milestone only has a 550MHz processor and 256MB of RAM, it also has a hardware QWERTY keyboard and dedicated camera button with dual-LED flash – both features that I really wanted to have. In the end, I chose to go with the Nexus One instead, mainly due to the processor and probability that it will continue to be upgraded.
Shortly thereafter, Google announced that the final shipment of Nexus Ones arrived in its distribution centers, and that it would not be ordering any additional units. While some have claimed that makes the device obsolete, I disagree. Of course, the device is now EOL (End-Of-Life), which is somewhat of a factor, but the technology and specs inside are by no means obsolete, especially compared to the current crop of Android-powered devices on the market.
To be quite honest, I only really expect to use the Nexus One for about a year. By next summer, Verizon’s 4G network will likely be launched in enough places, and I’ll have an idea of whether or not I can stick with the same phone for 12 months, too. I’m really hoping that there will be some improvements in the Android cameraphone selection by then.
What do you think? Even though Google’s made the Nexus One officially EOL, does that make it obsolete? Is it still a solid choice?