Breaking up with the Nexus One

February 9, 2010, 11:00 AM UTC

Was I fickle? Or was our relationship doomed from the start?

I just put my Nexus One “superphone” back in its box to send it home to Google (GOOG).  I taped the sides of the Googley-themed cardboard, lest I be tempted to exhume it before the FedEx guy came to pick it up. So far, it hasn’t entered my mind to get the phone out of its package and fire it up one more time.

A gadget’s attraction (or a person’s for that matter) is often best measured by how much you think about it in the days and weeks following the “break up.” I have fond thoughts of my Nexus One, but I am sure our separation is the best thing for both of us. I will miss some of the best qualities of this first Google-branded phone, which the company loaned me. Its voice-enabled magic, whether it be for search, navigation or sending a text message, is stunning. I love playing with the universe exploration tool Google Sky, and will miss the time the Nexus One and I spent searching for Mars and other minor and major players in the night sky.  Sure Google Sky works on my laptop, but it just isn’t as much fun — sort of like kissing your aunt.

In what I would like to think was an attempt to keep our relationship changing and interesting, Google sent out an “over the air” update late last week. With it came the addition of multi-touch for a few applications, and the addition of Google Goggles, which lets me use the phone’s camera to simply take pictures to search the web. Cool stuff, but not a massive leap forward for the superphone and me.

There was also a firmware update that purports to remedy some of the 3G connectivity issues folks are having with T-Mobile’s network (the complaints continue, however). Connectivity is not a complaint I have with the phone, it’s about as good (which is to say, as bad) as my experience with my BlackBerry running on AT&T’s (T) 3G network.

I won’t be ignored!

The complaints I do have with the Nexus One, may have doomed us from the beginning. I have never worried about running out of battery life as much as I did with this phone. I couldn’t be confident we would make it through a typical early morning through dinner meeting kind of day without a recharge. Since I didn’t have chargers everywhere I went, I tended to throttle back on what I was doing with the phone, never getting its full potential.

I like physical keyboards, but I was willing to change. Over the course of the last month I still wasn’t  proficient enough on the Nexus One’s virtual keyboard to not get frustrated every time I texted something. Part of it is my BlackBerry past, but I also blame the hardware’s shortcomings. Either my right thumb is part vampire, or the right side of the screen was incredibly insensitive.

I found myself tapping things over and over and over. All I wanted was some  acknowledgment. I got nothing. For me, that was enough to call it quits. Yes,  I had to do some gymnastics to get my corporate email, but that would have been sorted out in time. But the obvious and cruel  keyboard insensitivity was not something I could get past.

Goodbye Nexus One. I will miss you every time I look for Mars or want to “text” with my voice. Lemme know when your sister Nexus Two gets to town.

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