Earlier this evening Gizmodo published leaked images that apparently show off the pricing details for Google’s upcoming Nexus One phone. The Nexus One comes in at a hefty $530 for an unlocked device, or $180 with contract on T-Mobile — pricing that’s pretty standard for a smart phone. But even still, it’s a very big deal. It also looks like Gizmodo’s screenshots may have included clues hinting at a previously unannounced feature for Android: automatic backup of your data.
Under the section for Optional Accessories, the Nexus One will apparently have a docking station available (as did the Droid). The description for the dock is as follows: “Charge your phone while streaming music and backing up your data“.
Now, that text isn’t terribly specific. In the case of the streaming music, I think Google is probably referring to an app like Pandora. In the case of backups, Google could be referring to using one of the third party backup solutions available on Android Market, like the top rated MyBackup Pro. Or it might just be saying that you can manually back up your phone to your computer while it’s charging. Or, it could be referring to a natively supported backup option. I’m guessing it’s the latter.
Up until now Android hasn’t had a native backup solution. Unlike the iPhone, which backs up your data every time you plug the device into a computer, Android simply mounts your device as a USB drive. Granted, you could drag and drop these files to your computer’s desktop if you wanted to, but that’s hardly an intuitive solution and it doesn’t let you selectively update only the files that have changed.
But what would an Android backup service look like? Google obviously favors the cloud, so it seems logical that it could back up your essential data wirelessly. Then again, Android already does that for much of your data, like Gmail and Contacts, because it’s tied to your Google Account. The fact that this backup is done while the phone is docked seems to imply it’s more time consuming. Perhaps it’s something that involves a desktop client — something that Google has avoided until now and would be at odds with their cloud-based strategy.
We’ll likely know for sure by January 5th — the date that the Nexus One is rumored to make its public debut.