Lots of buzz out there about Google’s new Nexus One phone, which was apparently built by HTC to Google’s specs. (images have been leaked for some time)
The iPhone of course is the gold standard, but HTC has been putting quite an effort into multiple models of phones, and from the Fast Company article I read, this new N1 looks to be even better than the iPhone, in terms of the nuts and bolts of it, speed, etc.
HTC’s designs look to be pretty basic in terms of doing what works without too much flash, a la Google. Apple of course, is meticulously designed in every aspect. By latching on to HTC, has Google pushed them to adopt Google’s “Let the engineers work out the way things work” method?
My question: Could HTC be becoming the Google of phones?
AFAIK, HTC makes quite a few phones for a variety of OSs. They built the G1, the first google phone, and also HD2 (windows mobile), Omni, Touch Diamond, Hero, etc. On most of their phones they actually do a quite complete UI skin, Sense UI over top of whatever is underneath (windows, android, etc.).
Not quite sure though what you mean by the “google of phones”… do you mean everything will be in beta forever and kinda buggy? have little to no design? The UI they’ve done doesn’t seem to be this direction (Sense UI looks to be one of the better UIs out there aside from iPhone OS X), and the handsets themselves look relatively slick though a bit boring and perhaps unrefined. Is this what you are comparing to google design?
Better question - how does the separation of handset from software design help or hurt? With both models (same mfgr for hardware/software such as Sony Erricson, Palm, Blackberry and Nokia) vs. separation (HTC, Moto, etc.) out and “working” it would seem future phone development fractured along these two lines. Personally, I think the more integrated model works better, but also key is the integration with backend systems for app stores, desktop OSes, etc.
From everything I’ve seen (i’m a frequent engadget and gizmodo reader), nothing comes even close yet to the iPhone in pretty much all aspects except perhaps for hardware, which if not paired to good UI and the ecosystem seems pretty moot of a point.
Is HTC purely engineered-Not really- especially since HTC takes such effort to create Sense UI skins over every smartphone they do. Their aesthetics are pretty good. The industrial design team has a refined taste in my opinion, but unfortunately they don’t seem to have the budget to build a really solid phone. Android is still not as refined as OSX on the Iphone and HTC seems to be the only team that wants to polish the edges on the ui
I like most of the hardware stuff that HTC does and their skins over Windows mobile and Android look pretty good. Android as a mobile phone OS just seems really ambiguous and nebulous to me though. There’s a lot of different handsets that have it, and a lot of different marketing approaches, T-Mo G1, the HTC skinned stuff, Sony E, DROID…And now there’s talk of Chrome OS and eventually getting that over to handsets…I dunno.