back to article Google tries to quietly trample on Apple's toes

This afternoon Google will finally announce its mobile offering. But while Google may make a better job of trumpeting its entry into the branded phone market, the Nexus One will never be as successful as the iPhone. Three years ago, your correspondent wrote that the iPhone, which didn’t even have a name at the time, would fail …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nicely done

    from "it will be a disaster" to "it will be a moderate success"... keep going, sooner or later you'll make a prediction that works.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    4 year lifespan...?

    Can you imagine the problems they're going to have with the 'Nexus 6' model?

    Mines the one with 'Tyrell Corporation' branding.

    1. Dan 10
      Thumb Up

      Hmm, nice!

      I watched it for the first time the other day (I know, I know, call myself a geek and I'd never seen Balderunner - the shame!), cool stuff. You'll be needing a 'Last Exit to Nowhere' t-shirt to go with it...

      (Google it if you don't know what I'm on about)

  3. Jigr69

    Cover all bases

    Have numerous reviews each one getting more positive, starting from it will fail big time, and I'm sure you'll get the prediction right!

  4. ekoka

    will never be...

    Did you guys fix your crystal ball?

    In short you're saying: google has all the right tools and assets to make the nexus a competitor to the iphone, but it will never be. Why? because you said so and you think you might be wrong.

    What was the point again?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Message from Jan 05 2016

    Ya Boo ... You were wrong admit it.

    I can see it all now from my windows mobile from the future!

  6. GeorgeTuk

    I agree...

    While it won't be as big as a success, anyone who wanted a caual user smartphone will have brought an iPhone already, it has that market cornered.

    But as a large scale business device it is just not feasible, I think thats where Android and Nexus One come in. The iPhone is all well and good as long as people look after it, but if they don't pay for it they won't. I can't see my company giving such expensive devices that when broken will cost a fortune to replace.

    iPhone is a massive success and Android seems like just another Symbian/Palm thing, here today forgotten tomorrow. Blackberry don't count as I don't want to manage another server.

    1. Bryan Anderson

      Business device?

      I have an Android handset - the T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Hero) and as a business device it falls VERY short of the mark. Unless and until Google can develope the core applications of contacts, calendar and email to match those of the iPhone (and Windows Mobile and Blackberry) then businesses will not take these things.

      Examples: No way to attach anything other than a jpg image to an email. No way to sort your contacts by last name or company name. No way (on the most popular version of the OS - 1.5) to set a default NO ALARM on calendar entries. Currently no way to install apps to the SD card and silly little amounts of internal memory to play with.

      With larger screen devices and newer versions of the OS coming out (and no guarantee that these OS updates will roll out to older handsets), developers are going to have a harder time making apps that work for ALL Android users than they currently have making apps that work for ALL iPhone users.

      (I would still buy another Android phone over an iPhone right now - there was a week or so when it was touch and go at first - but if I were looking for a business phone then Android doesn't cut it yet)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Doesn't matter

    The last line was actually rather charming, nice to see a little humility and self-awareness, worth a rueful grin.

    It's whatever the opposite of "being an Orlowski" is called.

  8. Jimmy Floyd

    <sniff sniff>

    I smell <sniff> self-directed reverse psychology! Nice one, Bill.

  9. Matt.Smart
    Thumb Up

    Right then

    You've done it now - let's prepare for the nexus one to slay the iPhone.

  10. Lutin

    Fair Play

    Fair play to you for referring (and linking) to the article with your horrifically wrong prediction about the iphone!

  11. Hammerhead

    Google signals final demise of AT&T

    The nexus is Google testing the hot water in the bathtub. The next step will be cell phones and calls will be for free , no contract just advertising. If Google were to do this right now the FCC would come down hard on them with support from all the other telcos After they are in the marker for approx six months you will see this model jump up.Mark my words, google will break the back of the telcos, its only a matter of time. Just as netbooks broke the back of high priced netbooks because there was no justification in paying the premium for a system which cost one tenth of the price to build, Also telcos are raking it in with cellular lines. Not for long as Google is set to break this very popular cartel. Go Google go, we are rooting for you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. feralrom

      Google is to I-phone as the PC was to the Apple II

      Yes. Google is proposing to break the back of the tied contract model of smartphone sales. If Nexus has features that reasonably match or exceed (see the Nexus camera, for instance) the iphone features, but is an open platform and is offered unlocked or with subsidies from multiple GSM providers, iphone will have to break its ATT monoculture.

      Google may not win the market with this. (Remember when IBM went open source and Apple stayed closed source? Apple lost market share in a huge way, but IBM didn't win.) BUT Google will open up the market and that will be good for consumers--and perhaps, bad for Apple/ATT.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Slight problem with your prediction. What are Google going to be routing their calls over? Hopes and Wishes?

    3. Rob Crawford

      Bad news

      the majority of the world mobile phone market isn't the USA, and to be honest the US mobile market is absurdly behind the rest of the world.

      Name a US mobile phone mfgr who produces a product that sells well outside of the US (the last one was the Moto Razr which was popular for a few months) apart from the iPod + strapon phone

      The US mobile phone system is fragmented, the roaming is crap and the number of dropped calls you suffer is ridiculous.

      Lets be honest the iPhone is an iPod Touch with a 2nd rate phone built in (I only know one iPhone user who thinks it's a decent phone).

      Personally I hope Google don't make a hash of things as Nokia & Sony Ericsson need some competition even if I do have 2 nokia phones (and an iPod Touch)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Very True

        When I moved to the US a little while back, I was amazed at how backward the mobile phone market is. My office is near Times Square, and I rarely have a call that lasts more than 5 minutes without being dropped - whereas I can't remember the last time a call in the UK was dropped. You can tell a lot by the advertising. In the US the major mobile providers are still advertising "less dropped calls than the opposition", "better coverage than the opposition (there's a map for that etc.)", and "better reliability than the opposition". In the UK the advertising was like that 10 years ago but has now moved on, and focuses on value add features.

        I was always amazed at the iPhone launch (the original one). It was a feature poor but shiny phone. But it was perfect for the US market where most phone features don't work anyway (some networks still charge for every single extra feature). People brought in in droves. Then they launched in the UK and, if everyone remembers, the stores at launch had more staff than customers. It was only when the 3G launched that more features were available and people started to buy. I'm still not impressed with the feature set on an iPhone - I've had a play with a few 3G and 3GS iPhones to see whether I would be interested, and they are all pretty poor if I'm honest, especially if you can't get the touchscreen keyboard to work because your fingers are too big!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The most telling thing is that you are NOT talking about Nokia as a competitor, or Microsoft as a competitor. You see the main two players as Android vs iPhone which is strange given Nokia dominates the handset market.

    I have to agree, it is about those two. Ultimately it's about talent, and who can attract it, so it comes down to money and lifestyle.

    Nokia is mainly European and worse, high tax, cold north Europe at that. So it has a disadvantage. If Nokia can't compete for talent then it is not in this race.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not all Nokia development is cold

      Nokia have development effort going on all over the world, not just in cold North Europe (their suppliers provide a lot of the work, and they are all over), and some of the people working on Nokia products are extremely talented indeed, even when not actually Nokia employees.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you were talent

        Nokia can offer you 150k in Finland (or Germany, or Belgium or whatever), you pay 60% tax, don't speak the language and get a lot of cross border EU crap. While the US corps can offer you 150k in a lower tax English speaking environment, or a Swiss one if its more suitable for you.

        I reckon Europe need to appreciate its talent more myself.

  13. Andrew James

    Android needs a Google branded handset

    I think that Android needs to have a Google branded handset to go with it. Mostly because of the well documented problems of slightly different versions turning up on various handsets and promises of upgrades to customised versions which never appear and leave the owners of lame duck handsets somewhat disgruntled.

    Having at least one handset on the market that is designed specifically from the ground up with Android in mind, with future Android 2.3, 2.4, 3.9, 5.0 upgrades being backwardly compatible to the Nexus One, Nexus Two, Nexus Three etc etc will help to curb some of the bad publicity.

    Apple releases a new iPhone with an OS upgrade and new features and they also make the OS upgrade available to older iPhone owners... with obvious exceptions being functions not compatible, such as digital compass in a phone without the hardware to operate it.

    If Google can start to put some stability into the Android OS vs Hardware issue in the same way, I think they'll be onto a winner, at the very least with their own handset (and probably similar ones that HTC will make for themselves without the Nexus badge).

    I have tried to keep up with the developments with Android for a while and i struggle at times to understand what features are in which version and working on which phones etc. If i am struggling with all this, how is John Smith The-Man-On-The-Street who just wants a new phone supposed to know which handset/andriod version is right for his needs?

  14. ThomH

    If it makes you feel any better

    The Met Office have recently revised their prediction for this winter from "warmer than average" to "colder than average".

    1. Robin Weston

      winter prediction

      They've missed a trick, I predict this winter will contribute to the average.

      1. Hedley Phillips

        superb reply.

        comedy genius!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    My opinion

    I'm also going to make a post about the gPhone, because it will indeed fail, and I'm absolutely sure about this.

    I said the iPhone would utterly fail three years ago, and I was about as wrong about that as a person can be. But that doesn't mean I'll always be wrong. A random binary proposition about something must be true about half the time. Therefore, for me to always guess wrong would take a huge degree of skill.

    So this time I'm probably right. By the law of large numbers, eventually I'll get something right, so it's probably this.

    Or maybe not. There's about a 50 percent chance.

    Hold on, tell you what, I'll toss a coin. Heads, gPhone fails, tails it wins. Heads! There you go, that's independent confirmation.

    Although, thinking about it, gPhone looks pretty good. So don't email me in three years when gPhone sales exceed iPhone sales by 10:1. Blame the coin.

    PS: G00g13 sux0rz

  16. Chad H.

    I think you're right

    What I've seen online suggests that the nexus is no better than android phones already out there. So as an iPhone user I have to ask: what does it do that I don't already have, or do better than I already have.

    The only answer I can see so far is that I can bypass the official app store if I want (and possibly open myself up to apps that do something other than advertised).

    Me too! Isn't enough to be a hit (outside of Entertainment).

  17. Forename Surname


    It is simply amazing how you can make a prediction about a product you have never even seen or touched, much less tried. It is no wonder journalist are becoming an endangered species...

  18. Gareth.

    Oh, it's you again...

    Why should we believe you when you got it so so wrong the first time round (in your defence at least you're prepared to admit it... although frankly it'd be hard to ignore it).

    Why, though, did you get the job of writing this article instead of someone else? If I fucked up quite so majestically in my job as you did when you wrote your original article, then I'd not be given a 2nd chance.

    If you say that the Google Phone will be a hit then Google must be shitting themselves right about now at just how much money they've poured into something that'll flop.

  19. Steve Graham


    The strapline to this article says "Wanna know why the Nexus One will never be as successful as the iPhone?"

    Well, yes. That would be good.

    How do we find that out?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture

      not any more...'s since been changed... I was about to say "retrospective journalism", but this article lacks anything informative relating to it's (original) title....

  20. Kevin Bailey

    Killer feature


    Surely being able to listen to music whilst browsing is an advantage.

    1. Frank Bough

      yeah but...

      ...the iPhone can do that. You've never actually used one, have you?

      1. Kevin Bailey

        I have to admit...

        ... to only fleeting use of an iPod Touch. But when using the app it had to close before I could use the browser.

        I know radiobox installs it's own browser - and I think iTunes alone is allowed to play whilst browsing - but it's not really multi-tasking well enough.

        Isn't switching between running apps going to be a big differentiation? Especially when being used as a sat-nav. Excuse if I'm wrong on this - but as admitted, my Ip* experience is very limited.

    2. Chris Procter

      You need an iPhone then!

      I'm typing this out whilst listening to Clint Mansells 'Moon' soundtrack!!

    3. Will Leamon

      Oh the haterz

      Your previous commenters are relying on the fact that Itunes runs in the background on the iphone. Nothing else does though and you are right in that multitasking is not a feature of the iphone.

    4. Bruno Girin

      Nokia N900 and S60 handsets

      If multi-tasking is the killer feature for you, get a Nokia N900 or an S60 based handset like the Nokia N97, they both do that very well.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not really nexus vs iphone though is it?

    It's more android vs iphone. Which could be analogous to windows vs osx, if it takes off as a universal platform.

  22. John Square


    ... your original article wasn't bad, and as you say, it was mainly the things that no-one expected to happen that confounded your analysis. A bit like predicting Man U winning the FA cup, only to have them knocked out by a lower league team in the third round. The unforseeable makes fools of us all (no matter how obvious in hindsight the unforseen event was).

    Either way, I think you're closer to the mark with Google's Nexus not being much of a success. It's a better cellphone than many people currently own, but it lacks the cachet of the iPhone. I think loads of people bought an iPhone without any clear understanding of why they were doing so.

    Maybe it was launched when loads of folks were about to treat themselves to a new iPod, or maybe the marketing was that good, but either way it had something that none of the technically better, more established players had. Sex appeal? X Factor? Fuck it, maybe it was just a capacitive screen.

    Whatever "it" was, I just don't think that the Nexus has it. Don't get me wrong, I'd like one but I'm androided anyway. I reckon Joe Public will probably think it's a bit of a dead end device, and why buy one when they could have an iPhone. After all, a search engine selling phones? It's like the Sun newspaper flogging nuclear reactors.

    So, yeah- the nexus is nice, but without a "one more thing..." factor that truly knocks spots off Apple, it's just another "Me too", and why go for a copy (albeit a good one) when you can have the real thing for the same cost and know it's got a long life ahead of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      one thing that swings it for me.. the much derided apps. I'm a Londoner, and I can drunkenly run up the London Transport app and have it tell me exactly how to get home from wherever I have ended up- that's just such a hilariously clever trick. Lots of useful little bits of software that make use of the hardware.

      (Disclaimer.. I know the bits, I have written route fidning expert systems and the like, but I still think that it's damned neat in execution)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Geeks v the world

    iPods are were successful because they established a brand image and ease of use, everyones heard of them and they look cool so any general joe schmoh wanting an mp3 player and doesn't want to have a lack support, no apps, etc etc will go straight to Apple. Only the "I hate Apple" geeks seriously consider anything else. The same will happen with the phones. Your average punter couldn't care less about open source, he just wants a cool looking phone that hes heard of and that he can use without to much faffing around hence the iPhone being a success. Google will NEVER have a successful phone as your average punter will think its just an iPhone copy with the Google name stuck on it, any advantages offered by Android will completely pass them by. Look at Microsofts attempts to take on Apple at mp3 players, any googlephone will be just the same. It may well be 100% better but it doesn't matter as 90% of the public consumer could really care less.

  24. Steve hardy

    Sat nav is not a "killer app" why?

    Though only available in the US at the moment surely FREE car type sat nav is at least one "killer app", throw in the use of "street view" in this app and I'm very keen indeed...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not that killer..

      S60 phones offer this out of the box, my S40 phone does it too, though you have to pay a license to activate the talky toaster mode to read out the directions. It doesn't seem to have caused too much of a ripple, as for about £100 quid, you can get a Garmin Nuvi or a cute little TomTom thing, either with a bigger screen, which will do a better job due to having a far better gps reciever/antenna.

      (Ok, so my Garmin Oregon is awesome too, but I am spoiled, damnit- it picks up a lock quickly indoors, it's insanely good)

  25. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    The good news - the new Google phone is an HTC with Android. The bad news - the new Google phone is just an HTC with Android. I can't see Apple or RIM being too worried, though Nokia's smartphone team might. Why? Well, because the iPhone, despite it's technical capabilities, is predominantly a fashion statement, and compared to it the new Google phone will have about as much cache as a dead rat. Oh, some of you fanbois are going to pretend you bought the iPhone on technical merit? Sure, if you want to say that, but then you weren't going to buy an HTC phone anyway, and definately not one with less capability than a Windows Mobile HTC phone, so why would you buy the Google one? How many of you fanbois listened to your local geek when he was raving about Linux on any other smartphone? None!

    As for RIM, they have the corporate mobile email market sown up and are the number one choice for secure personal mobile email. Google may make a few business sales if they bundle it with an email service in cloud deals (maybe with their desktop thrown in for PCs), but they aren't going to overturn the deathgrip that Office and Exchange have on most corporates, and that just reinforces RIM's hold on that market. And the carriers like BBs because they make good money for the carriers, especially when you bundle in the services around provisioning all those BES servers.

    As for Google "breaking the carriers", here's a clue - mobile phones don't work very well without mobile phone masts to provide a service. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to roll out a 3G network? Google doesn't have it's own anywhere in the World and the established carriers would block any move to establish new networks, so the hilarious idea that the carriers will simply lie down and let Google give away free calls is simply laughable. Apple had that market-appeal that meant the carriers were willing to bid for iPhone exclusives, but I can't see the same fuss around Google's offering, let alone handing over their money machines to Google.

    In short, I'm sure a carefully priced (i.e., carrier subsidised) Nexus may get some market, but nothing like the iPhone or BB, and only with the carriers in control.

    1. Frank Bough
      Thumb Down


      the iPhone is primarily a PHONE (and a surprisingly excellent one, at that); secondly an email client; thirdly an iPod and subseqently an application platform for a great many other things.

  26. Oliver 7

    Are you sure?

    Sheesh, you're review is about as bad as this dude's:

    Plenty of nay-sayers for the Googlephone. To be fair I don't think the Nexus will be as dramatic a success as the iPhone, but Android may well be a more successful OS. As has been mentioned Android is more fractured as a platform but surely that is what will give it a wider appeal across various niche markets, more versions (Sense UI, Motoblur, etc), more handset manufacturers, etc?

  27. tebiru

    So what?

    This article misses the point. Google has been reluctantly pushed into releasing a phone as a mere promotional device for Android. They clearly never wanted to do this, but because no single device has ever stood out to sing the praises for the platform, the big G has been forced to do it themselves.

    What we have here is little more than a dressed-up, G-endorsed HTC phone. It is not Google attempting to take the iPhone's crown. It's part of a long, drawn-out attempt to take the phone OS crown. As a mere means to an end, whether the Nexus alone is 'as successful' as the iPhone is far less important than whether Android itself is ultimately successful.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thereg does a psychic act

    "while Google may make a better job of trumpeting its entry into the branded phone market, the Nexus One will never be as successful as the iPhone"

    your getting tedious ...

  29. David Webb


    Latest figures suggest that Apple's share of the worldwide smartphone market is 17%, Nokia is at 36% in contrast which leaves 47% of the market without Nokia or Apple, this leaves a lot of space for Google to make an impact, if they steal market share from Apple and Nokia as well as some from the remaining 47%, they could have a moderate success with their phone.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I am an iPhone fanboy

    Guys, play fieldrunners or trism during a boring meeting is just priceless.

    The app store has so many excellent apps, it will be hard to anyone beat iPhone in the near future.

    iPhone for the win!


  31. baka
    Thumb Down

    not "open"

    check the specs... this phone does not support AT&T 3G data band, so in reality it is not a phone that any AT&T customer would be able to use. Booooo!

    Why go through the trouble of designing a phone that doesn't support this? I thought there were HTC phones in AT&T's lineup already.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Martin Usher

    The phone may not be the thing

    Looking at how many people use phones these days it seems that voice capability is not as important because they mostly text on the things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not just the iPhone

      That pretty much describes how I use my Nokia too- mostly texting is my first choice, as it's nicely asynchronous.

      I will answer (most) calls I get, but only make outgoing calls when either I need to phone a company, or the person that I want to communicate with writes texts in LOLCat (which my extremely literate mother does, for no readily apparent reason- I'm still not sure why).

      Phone calls are just insistent and intrusive, I like texting a great deal more- and if you're out and about, it's consierably more private than bellowing down the phone, too.

  34. Gil Grissum

    Eventually, Apple will lose

    It won't be a success on AT&T's network because they won't touch anything that isn't an iPhone. Just remember, the iPhone is one device made by one manufacturer and operating on one network in the USA. There are other networks here and as long as Android is available on different phones and different networks, but numbers alone, it will eventually eclipse the iPhone. Not everyone is in love with everything "apple flavored".

  35. Anonymous Coward

    of course not

    Google does not have an irrational,rabid cultist following that will buy whatever comes out of their prophets divine factories.

  36. gjw
    Thumb Up

    I am so glad

    That finally Google showed its real face and starts selling its Nexus. Now that the fanbois and the google goons both have an American enemy to battle, they will start leaving the rest of the world in peace.

  37. RegisterThis

    So we are all getting stupid and don't want choice?

    "today's mobile-phone buyer cares more about simplicity than freedom"

    Not sure I buy this. I think the biggest lie Apple and their cohorts of Fanbois sold the world is that suddenly everybody who had a phone for years couldn't use physical buttons and simple select/back menus and had lost their ability to vaguely remember which menu held what items ... so we just remove all the functionality and tell people that sexy simlicity is what you *actually* want and not functionality ... even multi-tasking is so last year!

  38. hexx

    apps, apps, apps

    this is where google will fail - too many versions of android, very fragmented, too much for an end user

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