World Awaits Release Of Google Phone

Google is set to launch its much-anticipated phone at the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday. The phone, believed to be called Nexus One, has generated buzz ahead of the show in Las Vegas.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Moving on now, to a big moment in the world of smart phones: The Google phone is coming, as we mentioned in All Tech Considered a couple of weeks ago. That phone, called the Nexus One, is the buzz in advance of the tech industry's biggest extravaganza, the Consumer Electronics Show. It is this week in - where else? Las Vegas.

And NPR's Laura Sydell has managed to get a hold of one of the Google phones. Laura, tell us about it. What do you think?

LAURA SYDELL: Well, I have to say, I really like it, Melissa. It has a nice weight. The screen is about the same size as an iPhone screen. It has a wonderful camera. I actually have to tell you that I did a side-by-side comparison of a photo on the iPhone and a photo on the Google phone. Google phone was better, has flash. The screen moves really quickly. I actually found just navigating through it, the user interface was very fast. It also has longer battery life. The iPhone that I was using had about eight hours if you were lucky, and it would run out on you.

This really lasted, and that means a lot. The other thing is, it appears you're going to be able to choose a carrier. So, you could choose either T-Mobile or AT&T. But you'll have to pay for the phone separately, which means it might be expensive.

BLOCK: Yeah, and when we say expensive, we're talking maybe $500 if you were to buy it without a phone package.

SYDELL: That is correct. So it could be as much as $500 to actually just buy this phone - which is something Google wanted to do because Google wants to make it possible for people to buy a device without having to sign up with a carrier. Google clearly is trying to start a trend that would separate devices from carriers. For example, people are upset that you have to sign up with AT&T to get an iPhone. Well, what if in the future you could get an iPhone and then choose your carrier? I think Google would like to push us in that direction, and that's one of the reasons they're doing this at all.

BLOCK: And Google here directly taking on Apple. What is the timing of the release of the Nexus One, Laura?

SYDELL: Well, I think what Google's doing is they're trying to eclipse the Consumer Electronics Show, which starts on Thursday. So, they have a press conference scheduled tomorrow in Mountain View, which is where everybody believes they're going to announce this phone. So, it's a way to say, hey, pay attention to us instead of getting lost in the big floor of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which starts on Thursday.

BLOCK: And what about that show? What's supposed to be big there this year?

SYDELL: Well, you know, you'll see some 3D TV, mobile TV, Internet-connected TV, lots of eBooks. That's something you're going to see a lot of this year. We've already got the Barnes and Noble Nook. We've got the Kindle. We're going to see more. But there's a good chance that by the end of the month, those eBooks are going to get eclipsed by Apple. You may have heard rumors about something called an iSlate�

BLOCK: Hmm.

SYDELL: �which is a tablet computer that everybody is expecting Apple to announce by the end of January. And this is essentially - a tablet computer is something where you have a screen and you use a sort of, you know, touch-point pen. And you can navigate around, and it will have 3D images. And everybody's talking about this new iSlate as the second coming. But it would allow you to read things on it. It would allow you to watch movies on it, all kinds of things. And it could eclipse many of those eBooks that we're about to see at CES.

BLOCK: Everything's eclipsing everything else, very quickly.

SYDELL: Everybody wants to somehow say, hey, my gadget's just the best. And clearly, Google and Apple are the two companies that are putting brackets around this show, Google first by making this announcement on their phone and then Apple, at the end of the month, by bringing out their tablet computer, which is supposed to be called the iSlate. That's the rumor.

BLOCK: NPR's Laura Sydell, thanks so much.

SYDELL: You're welcome.

BLOCK: And as always, you can check out the All Tech Considered blog up there now. You can find out how NPR Facebook and Twitter fans summarized 2009. We asked you to give us one word to describe last year. We got a variety of answers, of course, but a popular word was: ugh. See if your word for 2009 made the list at npr.org/alltech.

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