Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"The First Android I Could Consider Carrying as My Everyday Hand-Held Computer"

By Walter Mossberg

Google this week is taking two dramatic steps to try to catapult devices using its Android mobile operating system into stronger competition with Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry in the battle for supremacy in the super-smartphone category.

First, the search giant is bringing out a beautiful, sleek new Android phone, the Nexus One, built to its specifications. Second, it has decided to offer the new phone—and future models—to consumers directly, unlocked, via the Web, and then invite multiple carriers to compete to sell service plans and subsidized versions of the hardware.

One carrier is ready to support the Nexus One on day one: the U.S. arm of T-Mobile, a longstanding Google partner. The new Google Phone, built by HTC of Taiwan, will cost $529 unlocked direct from Google, at google.com/phone. It will cost $179 from T-Mobile online with a two-year contract that will set you back $79.99 a month.

Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and Vodafone in Europe will sell the Nexus One eventually at subsidized prices that haven't yet been announced. All of this will take place on a Google-hosted Web site, a much easier way to buy a phone and service than is typical today, and one that promises to further weaken the power of the carriers.

The company also plans to sell the costlier, unsubsidized version to consumers in the U.K., Hong Kong and Singapore immediately. Like Americans who buy this unlocked version, these customers will have to purchase carrier service separately, something they should be able to obtain right away by just buying and inserting a SIM card from a carrier with compatible technology. (This initial unlocked phone won't work with Verizon or Sprint in the U.S., nor on AT&T's 3G network, only the latter's slower network.)

I've been testing the Nexus One for a couple of weeks and I like it a lot. It's the best Android phone so far, in my view, and the first I could consider carrying as my everyday hand-held computer. It is a svelte gray device with a 3.7-inch, high-resolution screen; a thin strip of buttons underneath for home, back, menu and search; and a trackball.

Read Mossberg's full review here.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm so let me get this straight...

    They sell it "unlocked" (much hype around that one too - "customers have a choice") but - no, you can't have 3G on AT&T network (different bands). Edge only. Good luck with that!