Entelligence is a column by technology strategist and author Michael Gartenberg, a man whose desire for a delicious cup of coffee and a quality New York bagel is dwarfed only by his passion for tech. In these articles, he'll explore where our industry is and where it's going -- on both micro and macro levels -- with the unique wit and insight only he can provide.
After a weeks of speculation, leaks, confirmation and a sneak peek
from my colleagues here at Engadget, Google finally told the story of the Nexus One
. The Nexus One is the latest and greatest Android device, with a bit of a twist. The Nexus One is available without contract and unlocked directly from Google for $530, as well as subsidized from T-Mobile on a two-year contract for $179. Even with T-Mobile service, the device is only available from Google. Interesting, but hardly the groundbreaking business model that was expected as soon as the words "Google phone" began to make the rounds.
As nice as the Nexus One is -- and in my opinion it's the nicest Android device on the market -- it makes me wonder what Google's up to with Android and why it's even in the mobile OS business, let alone selling phones directly to consumers. I'd ask the same about Chrome and Chrome OS as well. Android is particularly puzzling, however: Google licenses it for free and it's turned up on some rather interesting devices, but none of those devices have helped build out an ecosystem. Many of them are proprietary and Android is rapidly becoming fragmented -- the Archos5 Internet Tablet
, for example, can't make official use
of the Android marketplace. But nothing is as strange as Google getting into the hardware business directly and selling devices, albeit unlocked and unsubsidized ones, directly to consumers.