Google Nexus One gets unwrapped before Christmas

Google's Nexus One smartphone is slowly getting unveiled ahead of its release as leaks and unauthorized walkthroughs hit the Web.

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    Just one peek: Details about the Google Nexus one are leaking left and right before its official release, rumored to occur in January.
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The presents are wrapped and under the tree – what harm could tearing a little hole in the wrapping paper do?

That seems to be the mentality of many in the gadget press when it comes to new products, and the Google Nexus One is no exception.

This week tech fans have seen a slew of covert snapshots of the phone in action, including shots of it being "unboxed" (a tech tradition), a video of its interface (below), and the familiar grainy, shaky cameraphone snaps of it next to other products like the iPhone.

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Here's what we [think we] know so far:

It's thinner and lighter than the iPhone. Gizmodo's Jason Chen spent some time with a Nexus One and had this to say about it: "It's basically, from my time with it, Google's Droid killer. It's thin, it's fast, it's better in every way." The Droid, regular readers and pretty much anyone who's watched TV in the past months know, is Motorola's latest Android-equipped smartphone. It's aimed squarely at dethroning the iPhone from its place atop the smartphone pile, and has done quite well. Unlike the Droid (and just like the Droid Eris and iPhone), the Nexus One does without a physical keyboard, but includes a trackball that changes color. Its display has been called brighter and crisper than both the Droid and the iPhone's. The rest of the leaked specs are pretty much in line with much of the smartphone field: a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus, expandable SD-card storage, and all the usual sensors: proximity, light, etc.

It's darn hard to get your hands on one. As with many Google ventures, the Nexus One is reported to be invite-only at first. We saw this with GMail, and then with Wave (to limited success), and have to admit – it's a great way to drum up buzz for a product. The folks at Engadget speculate that at first this invite list will include registered Android developers. That said, many Google employees reportedly already have their hands on the Nexus One, as evidenced by the slew of cameraphone shots that have recently surfaced on the Web.

Could it go carrier-less? Many are reporting the possibility that the Nexus One will be sold unattached to a specific wireless carrier – and thus without the price break that a carrier's subsidy offers. As a GSM device, the Nexus One would work with just T-Mobile and the much-maligned AT&T in the US, though some are suggesting that with VOIP (or Google Voice), the device could just do without a carrier's voice service, drastically altering the wireless landscape.

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What's your take? Itching to try a Nexus One? Happy with your current smartphone? Leave a comment below or find us on Twitter – we're @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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