It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement over the Nexus One announcement at the beginning of this week. With pundits declaring that Google’s entry into the smartphone market would be a game changer, and reviewers claiming that Nexus One was like an open Apple iPhone, the hype meter was fairly off the charts!
Disappointingly, Canadians making a trip to the Nexus One web page were confronted by a notice stating that the phone was not yet available in Canada. No matter, many of us said, we’ll just buy it on eBay.
That might not be such a good idea.
The patchwork of 3G bands emerging in North America makes the Nexus One a very poor phone for most Canadian mobile customers. Rogers, Telus and Bell operate on 850Mhz and 1900Mhz frequencies, while the Nexus One operates on 2100Mhz, 1700Mhz, and 900Mhz. For Canadian customers of the big 3 carriers, high speed data on Nexus One will not be available.
There is a ray of hope for Canadians who want a Nexus One. One carrier in Canada providing service on the 1700Mhz AWS band today is Wind Mobile. The as yet unlaunched DAVE Wireless will also apparently provide 1700Mhz service.
Frankly, the most deflating part of this launch story is that 3G hasn’t meant an intelligent rationalization of frequencies. We remain mired in the tar-pit of frequency allocation strategies, driving up handset costs in order to support roaming and effectively locking specific devices to specific carrier networks.