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Published: Wednesday, 1/6/2010

Google unveils its smart phone

LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES - Internet giant Google Inc. unveiled the Nexus One, a smart phone that it bills as the connection between the phone and the Web, at a news conference yesterday at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

A company spokesman said the smart phone is the next step in Google's ambitious strategy to spread its dominance on personal computers to the emerging market of mobile advertising and products.

Key to that strategy is pushing for devices that smoothly run Google's growing number of consumer products. Erick Sang, senior product manager, showed off some of the phone's new features.

The phone, which operates on Google's Android operating system, weighs 4.6 ounces, about as light as a Swiss army knife, and has a 3.7-inch display that has deep contrasts. The phone uses a Qualcomm processor. It is 0.45 inch thick, about the same as Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

The phone will cost $179 with a T-Mobile USA contract and $529 without it, Google said.

It has a track ball at the bottom of the device. If it receives an e-mail or new text message, the track ball changes color, flashing blue for Bluetooth, for example. It has a compass, GPS, and a light sensor. The light sensor helps save power by adjusting to indoor and outdoor light.

The camera with an LED flash has a one-click upload to YouTube. The phone also has active noise cancellation that gets rid of background noise. The back of the device has room for custom engraving.

The phone also has consumer-friendly software such as Google Maps, Facebook integration, and quick contacts.

Mr. Sang said the phone also has more room for applications on the screen. A weather application, for example, knows where the phone is and provides temperature, humidity, and weather conditions minute by minute.

He said Google expects more applications in the company's application market. Consumers will also be able to create a dynamic wallpaper.

For example, an image of the surface of the pond onto which leaves fall shows ripples made by the leaves. A tap on the water by the user also can create ripples.

The phone will be available for purchase today through a new Google Web store at www.google.com/phone.

A spokesman said the store will offer a phone with or without service from T-Mobile. Verizon Wireless in the United States will eventually carry the phone, he said.



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