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Phones, Netbooks & eBook Readers

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My how fast technology changes. In July I wrote Goodbye Google Gadgets, six months later it appears the company could become a major player in the hardware sector...

For those of you yet to catch up with a dizzying 48 hours at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California let me recap.


After much speculation and numerous leaks the Nexus S is official. It is a technical tour de force with 4in Super AMOLED 800 x 480 display, 5MP camera, 720p HD video recording, 16GB of native memory backed up with a 1GHz CPU and featuring Near Field Communication built by the same company (NXP) behind London's touch payment Oyster travel cards. With Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) aboard the potential is huge.

Next. Google has also announced 'Google eBook', the official name for the also long-leaked Google Editions eBook store. As expected it is a unified storefront and online library for eBooks purchased both through Google's own store and those of its third party partners. Books can be read on laptops and phones using the 'Google eBooks Web Reader' and there is eBook reader support in there too given eBooks can be purchased in both PDF and ePub support. Talk of the town, however, is a Google branded eBook reader to perform a Nexus One-esque this is how you do it role for third party manufacturers.

In addition rumours of a Google branded Chrome OS netbook have only heightened in recent weeks. For the record the latest talk is it will be manufactured by HP, Toshiba, Acer and Fujitsu Siemens ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) Inventec, be ARM-based, use solid state storage and have gargantuan battery life. Yes they may only be rumours, but that they exist so close to the supposed pre-Christmas launch of Chrome OS as a platform suggests there is something in it.

In all it is an astonishing turn around, but the most interesting question is 'Why?'...

Go back to July and Google was talking up a very different line. Speaking to the Telegraph Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on the possibility of a new Nexus phone:

"The idea a year and a half ago was to do the Nexus One to try to move the phone platform hardware business forward. It clearly did. It was so successful, we didn't have to do a second one. We would view that as positive but people criticised us heavily for that. I called up the board and said: 'Ok, it worked. Congratulations - we're stopping'."

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