Walking to the train tonight it suddenly hit me how awesome T-Mobile’s network announcement (Full HSPA+) was today. It’s unclear how long they knew the Nexus One was coming, but clearly they knew enough and had enough lead time to pump out the upgrades for launch day. Doing so takes the network issue largely off the table. By partnering with Google, they were able to ride the wave into what will hopefully be the start to how consumers consider their mobile purchase. AT&T … not quite so fast.
Google has confirmed that Nexus One, and all subsequent Google phones sold via the company’s online store, will be available unlocked for use on every participating carrier. If a particular Google-branded phone is not on a particular carrier, then that’s only because that phone doesn’t have the proper radio to support its network. In addition to being unlocked, the phones will also have bundled plan options where the pricing and details are up to the carrier.
By offering a lineup of phones that is essentially carrier-independent (with the radio compatibility caveat), Google has separated the two previously interlocked parts of the phone/plan-buying experience—phone selection and carrier selection—and has done so in a way that threatens one of the most important enablers of carrier lock-in.
In short, what Google announced today wasn’t just the Nexus One, but the world’s first carrier-independent smartphone store; the Google store is now the only smartphone store in the world where, for every phone on offer, you first pick which phone you want, and then you pick a network and a plan on that network. So you can comparison shop among networks based purely on plan price and network quality, because you already have your phone picked out. via Ars Technica
I’m intrigued by the Nexus One, but not buying anytime soon. I definitely like where Android is going and have a good deal of respect for what Google is trying to do. I’m just not compelled enough to pick up a second mobile bill (@ $80/mo+tax) especially since while the G phones run on GSM, it’s another network band meaning sadly I still do need to consider where I want my 3G.