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Canadians should avoid Google Nexus One, for now.

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.



{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Jim Courtney January 7, 2010, 6:33 am

    So the counterpoint to this is that U.S. owners of a Nexus One get to roam internationally at their own risk. This ranks this smartphone right up with all the CDMA smartphones for ability to roam outside the home country.

    But this also points out the risks for trying to be a startup in the smartphone game and using online sales as the primary marketing channels without carrier "incentive". RIM's experience dealing with over 400 carriers worldwide is a strategic asset that even Apple will take years to match. Dealing with spectrum allocation issues around the world on behalf of carriers is in their blood. And the carriers are going to maintain the their licensed spectrum assets as a barrier to entry to help protect their existing smartphone partners.

    This will be an interesting story of who has supremacy – the carrier or the handset manufacturer – but only leaves the consumer wanting.

  • Jeb Brilliant January 7, 2010, 9:57 am

    Alec when might we see a Calliflower Android app?

    • Alec January 7, 2010, 11:10 am

      It will probably trail a BlackBerry version, Jeb. Market size and all that…

  • BluechipJ January 8, 2010, 9:51 am

    Weak, weak argument.

    The Nexus One is built for AWS. Saying that it's a bad choice for Canadians is like saying HDTV is a bad choice because there aren't enough HD channels.

    AWS is the result of shutting off analog TV. It's the newest data spectrum. Rogers/Bell/Telus didn't buy the spectrum. Too bad for them.

  • Alec January 8, 2010, 10:00 am

    Hey Bluechip — I completely understand your argument. I bought an HDTV in 2000, back when there wasn't anything to watch. Thanks, but I'll wait until AWS has a larger footprint, globally, before committing to it. And that's why, by the way, the piece is titled "Canadians should avoid Google Nexus One, for now".

  • Brad Templeton January 8, 2010, 1:02 pm

    It would have been silly to launch the Nexus on AT&T instead of T-mobile, and those are your two choices in a GSM device in the USA. The iPhone remains a good phone, and people complain about only two things on it, really. That it's all locked up (battery and software) and that the AT&T network sucks. But to get a new android phone just to go an AT&T only solves one of those and it's much wiser to solve both.

    Face it, high speed data outside of your home country is ridiculously expensive. Some might even view being restricted to low speed as a feature so you don't spend $15 per megabyte too quickly. :-)

    Some day they will fix that and we'll get data roaming, and by then there will be phones that roam over all the bands and have all the goodies.

    Truth be known, I'll probably get a CDMA Android phone next. When I go overseas I will use the old G-1 android GSM phone with a local SIM, and since I won't be getting much data at all, it won't matter a lot. Though having two phones is a pain (you bring the other one because it's faster and on wifi it's still great) but I think you carry 3 don't you?

  • ferdinand May 19, 2010, 2:49 pm

    Hey check out something more about the nexus, it's directly from Android M. http://www.nexusonenews.com/search/nexus+one

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