Make yourself happy and avoid the Nexus One

In the end, there are two reasons I cannot recommend this phone:
  1. The display is unreadable in sunlight. If you like the outdoors, like I do, this is a deal breaker. (If you're a vampire, read #2)
  2. The buttons along the bottom of the Nexus One do not work. Or rather, do not work all the time, which is actually worse from a usability standpoint.
Regarding the first point, it is astounding to me that anyone would sell an electronic device that completely fails in sunlight. The sun remains the world's most important light source, and to make something that doesn't work in the sun is outrageously stupid. Only those who never leave a building should consider this phone, and that includes using it in your car. And I don't like to disrespect the sun on general principle.

(I can't help but wonder what this implies about the Google culture and possible vitamin D deficiencies there.)

As for the second point, well, the buttons gotta work. Every time you hit a button and it doesn't work, your expectations are blown, and you cause feelings of fear and anxiety in the user. They are small feelings. But they add up. Eventually, the user is all but flinching before touching a key. They look for ways to avoid touching the offending keys. This is usability 101. But you have to stab, cajole, pray, and otherwise beg the shitty Nexus One buttons to register a tap.Absolutely unacceptable. Apple has shown how to do great touch UI with an absolute bare minimum of buttons. The back|menu|home|search buttons on the Nexus One are worse than useless: they actually eroded myexperience to the point where I just don't want to use the phone anymore.

And since point 1 rules out all users except vampires, that means point 2 is going to mean Google has to deal with a lot of pissed off vampires. Maybe someone can get Stephanie Meyer to chronicle the inevitable vampire assault on Mountain View. In the meantime, I'm selling my Google stock.

I'm sorely tempted to eat the $45 restocking fee and return the thing, but I need an Android device for a business project (which doesn't rely on the display, luckily). So I'm gonna keep it, but I'm not gonna like it.

(For the record, there are three good things about the Nexus One: Google Voice, Live wallpaper, and strong syncing tools. And, to be honest, when you turn the brightness all the way up the indoor display is quite fetching.)


Anonymous said...

kudos, agree with your post. Worse is if you want to AVOID all contact with google! everything syncs or is related to an account on google! Say goodbye to privacy. I've yet to find someone or an app that can prevent this from happening, and just use your phone and your contacts, as that: YOURS.
If anybody out there figured out, let me know, please!

josh said...

Oh, well, I'm not that concerned about privacy to be honest. When it comes to technology in general and the internet in particular, you have to trust somebody. Even if you self-hosted all your services, you still have to trust the rackspace provider and the ISP to not mess with your machine. Google seems to be relatively trustworthy, even with the whole wifi access point debacle (which, frankly, isn't clear to me why that was such a privacy concern).

The good thing about Google isn't privacy so much as control. Sure, they may analyze your personal info for marketing purposes, but that invasion is mitigated by the impersonalness of it, and the potential utility of it. But that analysis doesn't force you to cede control of your data, unlike on other services, particularly Facebook. Not only does FB do the same kinds of marketing analysis that Google does, but Facebook forbids you to copy your contacts information for use outside the service!

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that if you want to you can opt-out of the Google services on the Nexus One. But I would recommend that you install a plain vanilla hacked firmware, bootloader, and OS and only use the software that you yourself wrote for the platform.