How the Google Phone Works

Google Phone Features

The Nexus One is the first phone to be sold by Google directly to consumers.
The Nexus One is the first phone to be sold by Google directly to consumers.
Courtesy Google


Several handsets use the Android operating system. There's the HTC G1, the first smartphone to run on Android in the United States. Verizon offers the Droid, an Android phone built by Motorola. Several other phones also rely on Android but the Nexus One is the first true Google phone -- the first phone you can purchase directly from Google.

When Google first issued Nexus One models to its employees, the handsets had no manufacturer markings on the case [source: Abramson]. Once Google offered the phone to the general public, the hardware included an HTC logo.

The Nexus One is 4.7 inches (119 millimeters) tall, 2.4 inches (59.8 millimeters) wide and less than half an inch (11.5 millimeters) thick. It weighs just 4.6 ounces (130 grams) with the battery installed. It has a 3.7-inch (about 9.4-centimeter) active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) display. The display resolution is 800 by 400 pixels and its contrast ratio is 100,000 to 1.

The phone uses a 1 gigahertz Qualcomm processor and has 512 megabytes of RAM. It also has 512 megabytes of Flash memory and comes with a four-gigabyte micro SD storage card. Nexus One owners who want more storage can upgrade up to a 32-gigabyte SD card.

The phone works on the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 megahertz frequencies on GSM/EDGE cellular networks. It also has a Wi-Fi receiver that is compatible with 802.11 b and g protocols. The phone supports Bluetooth 2.1 and A2DP stereo Bluetooth. It also has an assisted global positioning system receiver.

The phone's 5-megapixel camera comes with an LED flash. It also has a digital zoom feature that provides a zoom power of 2X. The camera can take video at 20 frames per second with a resolution of 720 by 480 pixels.

The Nexus One launched with the Android operating system version 2.1, codenamed Éclair. This version of the OS supports multiple contacts and synchronization applications, allowing developers to create apps that let users manage several e-mail accounts using one device.

Anyone wanting to buy an Android phone will have to create a Google account first. Google accounts are free and you can sign up at any time whether you own an Android phone or not. If you have a Google account, you can access services like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs. Android's designers built the platform so that it interfaces with these functions smoothly.

As hardware becomes more advanced, Google is likely to tweak the Android OS to support new features and functions. And if Google doesn't do it, someone else will. That's the beauty of an open-source system.

What makes Android tick? Read on to find out.