Google's Nexus One: Go Home Folks, Nothing to See Here

nexus one

Ah, Google's Nexus One...the Googlephone. For a while we were excited about the amazing things you might do. Then we worried. And with newly leaked info on how you'll be sold, we're done: You're way less exciting than we'd hoped.

The chaps over at Gizmodo landed a superb late, late Christmas gift yesterday evening—supposedly leaked documentation that set out exactly how much the Nexus One is being sold for, and how much it'll cost to run.

The answer: $530 unsubsidized and unlocked through Google's own web store. This represents the "real" price of the phone, lacking a carrier subsidy. And its expensive. It's pretty much in the same ballpark as other Android phones—indeed many touchscreen smartphones of other types (it's roughly the price I just paid for my 32GB iPhone 3GS, since that's how the sales model works in the country I live in.) To get it cheaper, you'll have to buy it tied up to a two-year T-Mobile contract, and there it'll cost you $180—again roughly how much a similar-specced smartphone of a different type will cost.

Here's the killer though: It seems there's just one single rate plan available for the Nexus. The "$39.99 Even More + Text + Web" which tallies up to a whopping $79.99 total. You can't even keep your existing T-Mobile rate plan if you switch—you have to get the Nexus One one. If that's too rich for your blood, you have to buy the unlocked one and take your chances.

Oh, and there's one more thing—the final professional-killer shot to the head perhaps. If you cancel that T-Mobile plan inside 120 days, you either have to return the phone to Google, or you owe them the difference between the subsidized price and the unsubsidized one—$350. Ouch.

So despite its Google livery, and its high-specced internals, the Google phone isn't the One Android Phone To Rule Them All. It's simply another among the herd, and it's likely that both its specs and prices will be quickly beaten by a competitor Android maker. And there's another thing here, that many commenters on the Web seem to have overlooked: Remember the last heavily-branded Google Phone, also launched in partnership with T-Mobile and made by HTC with guidance from Google? Yup—the first one, the G1. The Nexus One's launch mechanism is eerily similar to the G1's, it seems...with cleverer hardware. The G1 didn't really take the world by storm, so presumably Google's hoping the Nexus One will fare better. Maybe Sergei and Larry should show up on time for this (January 5) launch event?

nexus one

[Via Gizmodo]

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  • Anonymous

    I see an article that has totally denounced a new and potentially superior phone based on pricing structure. Living in a third world country where iPhones, Omnias, Nokias and similar smartphones are sold for prices far more than the unsubsidized $500, I can't help but feel that this article's title and subject matter is somewhat misleading?

  • Pierre Batbatian

    i really do not see what all the hype is about around this phone, it's a iphone look alike with a trackball like blackberrys and runs android.... i do not understand why every major blog has been covering this

  • Bud Thompson

    This is a review of the Nexus One by someone who hasn't seen one or used one. Do you call this journalism?? Bud Thompson

  • donjarrell

    I've seen nothing that shows Nexus One doesn't share the thinking on positioning that seems to define my G1. The G1 is aimed at those who have drunk the kool-aid of absolute Google-centricity. The marketing, buzz and discourse of the G1 community denies and ridicules pleas for coexistence and interaction with other (particularly business-oriented) tools and strategies. Case in point: Apparently the only way to load my 1800 contact records from Outlook (IMO) on my PC is via a time-consuming CSV-based import through Gmail and that seems to be one-way and duplicative, rather than an actual sync function of any kind. Tools purporting to do the job are rough and flaky as perhaps most developers with the wherewithall to deliver top-notch PC synching tools adhere to the notion that that's not what Google wants.

  • Chris Reich

    Well, since all this intel is from "leaked" documents, we don't know if we're getting the real story or being played. This could be nothing more than a feeler.

    If it's true, it's a shame. Google could dent the I-Phone market by offering the phones for free and then giving adwords advertisers the ability to slide ads into these phones.

    This sounds like more like MicroSoft than Google. I'm waiting for the rest of the story.

    Chris Reich

  • Jacob Minett

    With the recent news about iphone data demand slowing ATT networks I dont doubt Google is purposefully offering a less appealing monthly price. They will gain early adopters and google worshipers before learning / improving / deploying critical mass promotions.