I have been doing my best to ignore the live blogging of the Google event surrounding their latest smart phone. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of super portable internet devices that complement proper personal computers. I dearly love my iPod Touch (even though it is riddled with closed, encumbered, and proprietary technologies). I tend to glaze over when phones are discussed because I almost universally loathe the wireless carriers.
Tim O’Reilly has managed to capture my interest, however, with a few interesting thoughts around the Nexus One. He casts it as a key strategic move in one of the fronts in his sustained consideration of the war for the web, a trend he has discussed previously and continues to flesh out.
I think Tim makes a compelling case about the power of the Nexus One not lying with the device itself or any of specifications or widgets but rather in how well it integrates with what is really Google’s strength, online services. He gives a pretty good litany of pluses and minuses to bolster this hypothesis.
I do wonder, too, wether this is yet another savvy play by Google, like Chrome OS, to try to force the evolution of wireless broadband. While the Nexus One may advance the power and ease of network services, it would still seem to suffer from the frankly abysmal bandwidth available from any of the carriers. Perhaps Google is trying to drive demand for wireless bandwidth harder and faster to break that particular log jam.
Otherwise, my only other thought is towards openness. I think there is an even greater need if you heed Tim’s ideas for an open mobile device that can interact with Google’s services as well as open source equivalents. I still don’t have any better ideas of how this could be accomplished in the wake of so many failures but the need seems even greater. Google’s recent paean to openness and their own Data Liberation Front project would seem to be opportunities just waiting to be exploited in this regard.