There are times in history that we can define certain points as changing the course of everything that followed. This is especially true in the technology industry. Since the technological revolution is such a recent ordeal, and so accelerated compared to other major sequences of events in history, there are events in time, even within my own life, that I can point out as events that changed the industry. One example of which was when a guy named Linus Torvalds created this little thing called Linux in 1991.
However, there always seem to be a lot of false starts on the way to important change. Something I think it’s safe to term an almost revolution.
It is my belief that the Google Nexus One smartphone was one of the most public, most important almost revolutions that we’ve seen in recent years. Not exactly because of the phone’s hardware itself, but because of how Google attempted to sell it. Unlike every other cellphone vendor out there – Google took at shot at selling the Nexus One directly to consumers.
For years, the industry standard has been for the people to build the phones to sell them in bulk to the wireless companies, who would then sell them to their customers. It is not an uncommon practice in this industry for the wireless company to load some of their own software onto these phones (some really crappy software, I might add) that you would never use. The fact of the matter is that many of the cellphones we buy are sub-standard quality. Not because companies like Motorola or LG can’t produce good phones – but because we are not their customers. Our cell service provider is. So they, quite frankly, don’t care about our experience because, hey, they’re still getting paid. And most wireless companies don’t truly care because more likely than not – you’re locked into a multi-year contract with them.
So, when I heard that Google was bypassing all of that, and selling their phones directly to consumers – I was thrilled. I expected to see a complete shift in how cellphones were sold. I hoped to see the long-awaited dissolution of the marriage between cell phone makers and wireless companies. Alas, sales were not what they wanted and I was disappointed.
Google decided awhile back to shut down the Nexus One store and they received its last shipment of Nexus One’s this week (and announced it here). Google says they will continue producing Nexus Ones to ensure developers always have access to a device with the latest Android OS – but it’s still not the revolution many of us were hoping for.
Yes, it is unfortunate, but as a happy Nexus One owner I still hope that we’ll see a day soon when the cell phones are sold directly to the consumer by the company that makes them, who won’t require you to get a contract if you want the latest and greatest phone (COUGHAT&TCOUGH),