AT&T 3G May Not Be Enough to Save Nexus One

The Nexus One smartphone is now compatible with AT&T’s 3G network in the United States, Google announced Tuesday.

Though the unlocked device can be used with SIM cards from most GSM operators worldwide, frequency differences meant its 3G compatibility was previously limited to T-Mobile’s network in the U.S.

The Android-based device also now runs on Rogers Wireless’ 3G network in Canada.

Price Barrier

News of the expanded compatibility will certainly provide additional options for users of the well-hyped smartphone and help level out the playing field with Apple’s iPhone, which also runs on AT&T.

Whether it will be enough to buoy sales of the fledgling Nexus One, however, remains to be seen.

Though it was recently endorsed by none other than Linux creator Linus Torvalds just a month or so after its January launch, the unlocked Nexus One costs a hefty US$529 and can only be purchased online through Google’s web store.

The First 74 Days

Meanwhile, the devices are not selling as well as expected. Whereas Apple’s iPhone sold a million devices in its first 74 days — and the Motorola Droid sold some 1.05 million during a comparable time — Google has sold only 135,000 Nexus One units in the 70 or so days since its launch, analytics firm Flurry reported on Tuesday.

It may be that at least part of the reason for those disappointing figures is that “Google has struggled to get the support infrastructure in place for selling via the Internet,” Chris Ambrosio, executive director of wireless for Strategy Analytics, told LinuxInsider.

“The cellphone sales process is still very touchy-feely,” Ambrosio explained. “Users have many questions and features that they need support on that Google was not ready to support.”

Trademark Disappointment

Google reportedly received another blow this week when the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office denied its application for a trademark on the “Nexus One” name.

Potential confusion with Integra Telecom’s existing Nexus trademark dating back to 2008 was the reason given for that rejection, according to Why the Lucky Mobile’s Nexus One blog.

Google just filed its application for the “Nexus One” name this past December.

A Stress on Support

Taken together, the growing collection of less-than-encouraging news raises the question of whether Google’s Nexus One strategy will ultimately succeed.

The addition of AT&T users, in fact, could place further stresses on Google’s support capabilities, Ambrosio asserted.

AT&T users typically represent an older, higher-income demographic than T-Mobile users do, he noted, and they’re also less technically adept, on average.

There are also far more of them, Ambrosio pointed out.

As a result, the inclusion of AT&T users will likely “put Google under significant extra pressure,” he said. “I’d say the success of the Nexus One really depends on how quickly Google is getting its customer support functions up to speed.”

‘A Disappointment’

Of course, “every slugger swings and misses plenty,” telecom and wireless analyst Jeff Kagan told LinuxInsider. “They just hit home runs more often than others.”

The Nexus One is “not the blowout success we expected from Google,” Kagan added. “It is not an instant success like the Apple iPhone was. That is a disappointment.”

Yet the wireless business is not Google’s main business, he pointed out. “They have to get up to speed on how to blend their magical brand with this new industry.”

‘Their First Swing Missed’

Whether there’s still hope for the device is the big question, said Kagan.

“No one knows — if this were another company I would say chances are shrinking rapidly, but with Google and their strong brand name I would say they have much more time to make changes and get things right,” he pointed out.

It’s clear the wireless space is changing quickly, Kagan added.

“As of three years ago, the Apple iPhone changed the space and everyone is rushing to take advantage of the new opportunity,” he noted. “Google wants to take advantage of the same shift in wireless, and they want to add their own twist to it and change the industry even more to their own thinking.”

In short, “their first swing missed; the world is not rushing to the Google phone — at least, not yet,” Kagan concluded. “We’ll see what happens next. I think chances are good, but there are no guarantees. Google will not be successful at everything it tries.”

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PRODUCT REVIEW

InnoView’s 15.6″ 4K Portable Panel Could Be the Ultimate Touchscreen Accessory

InnoView 15.6" PM004 portable monitor

The InnoView 15.6″ 4K HDR touchscreen portable monitor is a superior accessory for productivity and entertainment on your desktop and mobile devices. It checks nearly all the boxes for performance and usefulness.

Portable screens are often more of a hassle to use than they are a convenience, especially when traveling. They also do not usually measure up to enjoyable game playing and movie viewing as secondary screens unless the tablet or computer monitor is crimped for space.

However, the 10-points touch technology and metal construction of this portable IPS LCD screen leave very little to wish for, regardless of which mobile or desktop hardware is attached.

It is made of premium aluminum alloy board, built-in dual stereo speakers, adjustable metal kickstand, and a 4K touchscreen that delivers a 16:9 aspect ratio view. The portable screen offers 500 nits of brightness and clarity with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

Overall, this model provides the best performance that I found from both larger and smaller portable monitors. Unlike many portable screens I tested, this one powered on with just a single USB-C cable tethered to the host device.

Not having to plug into the wall socket with a separate cable brings new meaning to mobility for portable monitors.

Light Weight Yet Heavy Duty

Until my hands-on experience with this two-pound featherweight 15.6″ monitor, I generally shunned lower-end portable screens. Typically, they are little more than a computing accessory to tolerate when on the go. The limited functionality and lesser capable visual displays make them literally a last resort for business and home office productivity as second monitors.

That is not the case with this InnoView model. Granted, this unit is not a budget or mid-range device, however. Still, it is worth the higher price for the performance it delivers. 

InnoView’s PM004 is solidly built and modern looking, with rounded thin bezels on three sides in a space gray aluminum frame. The color looks grayish on the back panel, but the predominantly black hue of the bezel bottom quadrant blends in nicely with the blackish screen when not turned on.

The display is sharp and brilliant with an excellent resolution that has a 178-degree full visual angle. Video performance has no lag and has eye-pleasing contrast. The performance is consistently impressive whether game playing, consuming videos, or engaging streamed content.

The item measures 13.98 x 8.86 x 0.43 inches. It comes with an attractive padded slipcover case.

No special drivers are needed. Out of the box, this model works with no configuration changes on the host computer or portable device. It comes with cables to connect to most devices. These include two USB Type-C to USB Type-C cables, one Mini HDMI to HDMI cable, and one On-the-Go (OTG) cable with a 30-watt wall socket adapter.

InnoView 15.6" Portable Monitor, what is in the box

The monitor is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux PCs and laptops, as well as Chromebooks, most smartphones, and a variety of Android tablets. It also works well with PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, plus other game devices.

Side View Rundown

The PM004’s compact design lines up ample connection ports and controls on both the left and right sides of the bottom portion of the monitor where a thicker base holds the unit’s hardware components. The ports are located in a recessed area behind the bezel.

On the underside of this base reside dual speakers. They are one of the few disappointing aspects of this otherwise exemplary portable monitor. The sound lacks much in the way of base or stereo sound separation. Their bottom-facing position somewhat muffles the volume when the monitor is not being held or placed flat on a desk.

InnoView 15.6" side view

The left side houses three USB Type-C ports to accommodate the power adapter (if needed) and cables to connect to the host computer, game console, tablet, or smartphone. The right side houses the on-off power button, Mini HDMI port, and mini headphone port.

Push in the power toggle to turn the portable monitor on/off. The power button doubles as the access point for the on-screen function controls.

InnoView 15.6" touchscreen controls

The screen controls are touch-based, making it easy to adjust settings. Slide the power toggle downward to launch the touchscreen control panel.

High-Performance Elements

The G+FF (cover glass, plus double film sensor) technology supports a more precise and sensitive touch for both fingertips and stylus for drawing. Adobe RGB wide color gamut covers more range to see more color details, gives full play to RAW format photos, and provides photographers with more post-production space.

The 10-bit high color depth capacity compared to 8-bit presents up to 1.07 billion colors, which can bring a more natural and smooth color transition. This monitor also supports hardware color calibration.

This portable monitor works well to mirror or extend the primary monitor for whatever you are creating, watching, or playing with its 4K-UHD onscreen capabilities.

When connected to a mobile phone or laptop, the portable monitor senses orientation and automatically switches the display into horizontal or vertical modes according to the product’s position. This feature improves work efficiency and entertainment when you use the monitor as a hand-held device, place it on a flat surface, or angle it with the adjustable stand.

Overall, the real plug-and-play functionality of the dual USB Type-C ports lets you use this monitor with only one USB-C cable attached. This brings you better video streaming and an awesome viewing experience when screen-sharing, editing images and videos, watching a movie, or gaming.

Hands-On Impressions

InnoView set the high mark with its PM004 portable monitor. It is a trouble-free companion for extending screen real estate with cell phones, laptops, and small-screen tablets.

Frankly, its ease of use and functionality caught me by surprise. This portable monitor easily doubles its usefulness as a quite capable second monitor for my desktop workstation.

Why? Its 4K crisp resolution and 15.6″ view allow me to spread out my viewing space when creating content and doing graphic editing. Even watching streaming content is much more enjoyable thanks to the vivid colors and stellar screen display.

Yet Another Productivity Benefit

Typically, second monitors — portable or full-size desktop — will show only the contents of a window dragged to it. You cannot access menus or other launchers because no panel bar desktop elements live on the secondary display. Not so with the PM004.

The InnoView 4K touchscreen can replicate the desktop view available on the main display. Including, as shown here, the dock and icons in Chrome OS which are fully functional.

InnoView 15.6" 4K portable monitor

That functionality also exists with another InnoView portable monitor I recently tested. But that functionality does not exist with computers running Windows and Linux. I did not test this on a Mac computer.

This is an ideal feature if you use Chromebooks. It gives you the ability to operate the computer from either display, enabling more productivity as if you were using two computers in one.

Where To Buy

The InnoView PMO04 15.6″ touchscreen portable monitor is available on the manufacturer’s website and at Amazon. Published prices currently range from $599.99 to $669.99.


Suggest a Review

Is there a tech product or application you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Email your ideas to me and I’ll consider them for a future column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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