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Guts of Google's Nexus One Smartphone Spill, Blade Runner Estate Takes Note

nexus one

Since news broke of Google's own Android-powered smartphone, the Nexus One, the Net's gone wild for the phone. Some enterprising fellows have even taken apart a leaked ROM and worked out what's inside it: Good stuff, that's what.

The ROM hackers concerned are the guys at TheseAreTheDroids, and they took it upon themselves to sift through the data in a leaked Android 2.1 ROM from a Nexus One. Hidden in the code is all the necessary info to work out what powers the beast—and what they found is interesting.

There's the usual accelerometers, proximity and ambient light sensors that are now de rigeur in touchscreen smartphones thanks to the iPhone, a magnetic compass, references to the autofocus camera with LED flash, Bluetooth, and dual-mic noise canceling chips. Then there are four neat facts that seem to support rumors of the very best pieces of hardware in the phone: OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics support, 802.11N Wi-fi, stereo FM receiver, and a Snapdragon CPU. This is very exciting stuff.

Why so? Because the Snapdragon at the top end of its 1GHz capability clocks in at nearly twice the chip speed of the CPU inside the Motorola Droid—the other Android phone people got all hot under the collar about recently (even though perhaps they shouldn't have). OpenGL graphics combined with a hot processor means the Nexus is going to be very capable indeed, and high-powered, 3-D graphics-heavy games should be a serious possibility—aided by the phone's large screen. It'll be as capable of the iPhone in this regard, for sure, and could even surpass it. Wireless 'n' specs will also mean the phone can pull down data at a much higher rate over Wi-fi than nearly every other smartphone out there (including the iPhone) since they use the older and slower b and g standards. And the stereo FM is a lovely touch that even Apple hasn't seen fit to adopt yet—except on the newly-revamped iPod Nano. There may even be FM transmission powers—making the phone handy for in-car use.

The upshot of this hacking effort is that the Nexus One has been revealed to be quite the Droid-beater, which will certainly have the executives at Motorola hopping mad—should rumors that Google will sell this phone to the public unlocked from next January prove true (and if Google gets the price right with all this expensive-sounding tech inside.)

Those rumors are getting hotter all the time, driven by more news surfacing on the Web like the video of the phone in action below, and now Google's applied for a trademark on the name. But that might prove to be one tiny sticking point in Google's plans: As I pointed out Nexus is a name very closely associated with the androids in Blade Runner, and the estate of original author Philip K. Dick isn't best pleased. They've contacted their lawyers, and Google will be hearing from them shortly—it might have to hand over a wodge of cash before it gets permission to use the name properly. Else the family will be sending their Nexus Six around as a "persuader."

[Via Ecoustics, The New York Times] Photo via Engadget