phone thumbnail There has been a frenzy of rumours circulating about Google's foray into the mobile handset market since it was first discovered that Google might be working on such a device.

The handset is set to be unveiled later today at Google's California HQ. Based on speculation in the blogosphere, these are our five predictions for what we can expect from the Nexus One.

1. It will be Google's 'iPhone'. Apple has built its reputation on providing a superior user experience. In order to do so, Apple controls virtually every aspect of its products from concept, to research and development, to software and hardware, and even to marketing and distribution. By doing so, Apple can ensure that various elements work seamlessly together to maximise the potential of the product and optimise the user experience.

A variety of handsets are already available that are built on the Android operating system. The Nexus One is Google's chance to manage the bigger picture and provide a mobile device capable of meeting the potential of Android.

2. It won't be an iPhone. It might be Google's equivalent of an iPhone, conceptually speaking, but it won't be an iPhone (or iPhone killer as each innovative new device that comes out gets termed).

According to the 'leaked' specs of the device, HTC has created a formidable hardware platform for the unveiling of Android 2.1. Thinner and faster than the iPhone, the Nexus One supposedly beats the iPhone in a number of categories. It won't create the sort of frenzy or demand that Apple achieved with its mobile phone, though.

3. It won't be a Droid. Not only will it not be an iPhone, but the Nexus One won't even be a Droid (the Motorola Milestone in the UK), the current crown jewel of Android-based mobile phones.

Verizon invested a substantial amount of money marketing the Droid and creating a buzz around its launch. While the Droid was not the first Android-based phone, it was the first Android-based phone from Verizon. Arguably, Verizon and the Droid are responsible for Android becoming a household word.

The rumoured Nexus One specs are only incrementally different or better than the Droid. In fact, the Nexus One doesn't introduce any compelling new functionality to make it exciting. Basically, people who would have bought a Nexus One have probably just got a Motorola Droid and won't be looking to change for a couple of years.

4. The T-Mobile plan will handicap its success. T-Mobile is the number four wireless provider in the United States. It has nowhere near the market share of Verizon or AT&T.

With that in mind, only rabidly anti-Apple users would consider it a good deal to pay $180 for a Nexus One to get locked into an $80 a month contract for two years with T-Mobile, when they could just get a subsidised iPhone for $99 on AT&T's network with roughly the same per-month subscription cost.

5. Nexus One will be a missed opportunity. Google is a powerhouse hybrid somewhere between Microsoft's industry dominance and Apple's flair for innovation. Google could have done a lot to shake up the wireless industry and change the status quo, but if the rumours of the Nexus One pricing and plans are accurate Google missed that boat.

Some have speculated that Google could leverage its vast empire of online and mobile advertising (assuming the Admob deal passes regulatory scrutiny) and provide a powerful Android-based smartphone for little cost by subsidising through mobile-based ads.

At the very least, Google could have teamed up with AT&T, the other GSM-based wireless provider, rather than T-Mobile. The Nexus One could have been AT&T's first Android-based device and offered existing customers a compelling smartphone other than the iPhone.

That said, the official unveiling is some hours off yet. Maybe Google will surprise us yet with an Android-based Nexus One device that offers better than the status quo wireless provider exclusivity we're all used to. Let's hope so.