Internet search giant Google has launched its much-awaited, and correctly predicted by Moneylife along with some other media, its mobile handset titled as Nexus One. Google will sell the phone through its Web store. However, it will currently be available only for US consumers.
"The Nexus One belongs to the emerging class of devices which we call 'superphones'. It's the first in what we expect to be a series of products which we will bring to market with our operator and hardware partners and sell through our online store," Google said in a release.
Google said the Web store would allow consumers to purchase the Nexus One without operator service or with service from T-Mobile USA. Google further said that it expects to add more operators, more devices and more countries in the future, including Verizon Wireless in the US and Vodafone in Europe.
The Nexus One, which was garnering favourable first reviews on tech websites and forums, ships immediately from Google's online store for $179 with a two-year contract from Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, or $529 without a service plan.
According to Techcrunch.com, Google has a lot riding on this launch. Sure, it would be nice for the phone to be a popular device in its own right. But, as many have pointed out, it’s the disruptive distribution model that’s going to have the biggest impact down the line. Google needs to show that this new online distribution model is something that people are willing to actually use, it added.
Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One features dynamic noise suppression, a large 3.7-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED) display and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset for blazing speeds. Running on Android 2.1, the newest version of Eclair, the software includes innovations like a voice-enabled keyboard so that you can speak into any text field, fun Live Wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery for richer media experiences and lots more. Of course, it also comes with a host of popular Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.
Nexus One's launch, especially in the US, assumes significance as T-Mobile and AT&T's exclusivity deals with Apple for its iPhone are about to come to an end. Google's phone would prove to be a shot-in-the-arm for these carriers, who so far had to depend on iPhone for higher-end mobile handsets.
The move also marks a rare foray into direct sales for Google. With the exception of an appliance it markets as a search tool to businesses, the company hasn't sold hardware in the past.
Google became a high-profile player in the mobile arena two years ago, when it launched its Android software. A number of leading handset manufacturers, including Motorola, built phones running the software, some of which contain branding "powered by Google". But the phones—many of which hit the market in recent months—haven't sold nearly as well as Apple's iPhone.
As far as India is concerned, Google's website says "Sorry, the Nexus One phone is not available in your country". Officials from Google India were not immediately available for comments. So for Indian enthusiasts, the wait could be a little longer.