Remember when Google boldly strode into the smartphone game at the beginning of 2010 with it’s “superphone,” the Google Nexus One? Suddenly it doesn’t seem so super anymore: according to multiple reports, Google’s forthcoming Android 4.0—a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich—will not support the Nexus One. The move is leaving many Nexus One customers annoyed—and that includes many Android developers.
Google hasn’t issued any official statement on the fate of the Nexus One, but Android product marketing director Hugo Barra told The Telegraph that the Nexus One hardware was too old to run Ice Cream Sandwich, and a quick check with Google itself seems to confirm the company has no plans to upgrade its original smartphone. Some Nexus One fans have noted that it might be possible to move the Nexus One to Ice Cream Sandwich by installing new third-party ROMs, but that’s a lot of effort to keep and Android handset operational.
Google has confirmed that its newer Nexus S phone will be receiving an over-the-air update to Ice Cream Sandwich soon.
Google launched the Nexus One back in early 2010, touting it as the world’s first “superphone” and unexpectedly getting into the business of selling handsets direct to consumers via the Web. That part didn’t work out—the Nexus One was never a hit with everyday phone users, and many buyers were frustrated by Google’s inexperienced and often non-existent support infrastructure—particularly galling since customers were paying top dollar for the devices.
Nonetheless, even after Google pulled the plug on Web sales, the Nexus One found a surprising new audience: Android developers, for whom the Nexus One was one of the only “pure” Android phones to be found on the market. Without third-party interfaces, overlays, and modifications to Android, the Nexus One became a perfect testbed for developers building Android apps. Now, with Ice Cream Sandwich, Android developers will have to leave their Nexus One’s behind—or at least relegate them to testing older versions of Android—and move on to devices like the Nexus S and forthcoming Nexus Prime for development work.