The Nexus One: The Grand Daddy Of Them Leaves its Mark

July 23, 2010 - Written By Mike Corbett

Google’s grand experiment of designing and selling a cellphone directly to consumers may have come to an end, but HTC, the company that manufactured the phone, says its influence lives on.

Call it the Nexus One legacy. The handset debuted in early January on Google’s website, built to Google’s specifications as a showcase for the company’s mobile platform, Android. Most carriers, however, shunned Google’s venture, leading Google to recently stop selling the phone and close its webstore.

Both Google and HTC have said they consider the Nexus One a success despite its reportedly weak sales. HTC chief executive Peter Chou told Forbes in March that the company would be able to leverage its Nexus One experience to “show that we are the top Android brand.” In a recent interview, Drew Bamford, HTC’s director of user experience, gave Forbes more detail about the Nexus One’s impact.

The handset, says Bamford, “trailblazed goodness” that has since been incorporated into other HTC phones. It was the first HTC device with unibody aluminum housing, for instance. This manufacturing process carves phone casings from a single block of aluminum for lightweight durability. HTC later used the same technique for its Legend phone and is rumored to have applied it to an upcoming phone code-named Ace/Desire HD.

The Nexus One was also the first HTC Android phone to incorporate a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an OLED (organic light emitting diode) display and noise cancellation technology. Those features have since been baked into several HTC phones currently on the market, such as the EVO 4G, Incredible and Desire.

Bamford says HTC has no regrets about the Nexus One’s retirement, chalking it up to the “short lifecycle of the modern smartphone.” “Some of our other phones, like the EVO and Incredible, really supersede the Nexus One now,” he notes. “A particular handset can only be on top of the heap for so long.”