Google Nexus One Phone Plan Details Leaked

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Details of Google's own Nexus One smartphone found their way onto the Internet, and if accurate, reveal how much users will pay for the device and how much their T-Mobile contract will set them back.

According to Gizmodo, Google will sell the Android-based Nexus One unlocked and unsubsidized for US$530. A subsidized version is also available for $180 and requires a T-Mobile Even More + Text + Web plan for $79.99 a month.

Google will apparently sell the Nexus One internationally, too, but only five handsets can be purchased per user account -- presumably to help prevent grey market resellers.

The Internet search giant also sent out invitations to a special media event scheduled for January 5, leading to speculation that the Nexus One will officially launch just days before CES.

Google's Nexus One smartphone may be drawing lots of interest, but isn't likely to be the game changing device some are hoping for. With a price point in line with other handsets and a single service plan for the subsidized version, Nexus One will more likely be just another popular player in the smartphone game.

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Comments

Khaled

wait, it’s an HTC phone smile
so about warranty should I google it or go to HTC? wink

TRU

im getting one! fastest cellphone to be made. woohoo!

Lee Dronick

im getting one! fastest cellphone to be made. woohoo!

Can you talk fast enough to keep up with the hardware?

Nemo

After all the money that Verizon’s Mr. Seidenberg spent on marketing the Droid, he must be a furious goat.  He spent tens of millions on marketing that will benefit T-Mobile and Google far more than it benefits Verizon.  And, for its efforts, Verizon will have the inferior Android smartphone.  Mr. Seidenberg and Verizon got screwed.

Motorola also got owned.  They spent all that R&D money to develop the smartphone, based on Android, that would reverse its fortunes and return it to eminence, if not preeminence, in smartphones, only to see Google make the Nexus One, which is the Android phone that will most likely dominate the Android phones and become the targeted reference standard for developers.

What are the morals of this story.  For OEMs that would partner with Google to make Android smartphones, your fate will be worst than the fate of Microsoft’s Windows OEMs, because Android is free, so you must compete against anyone with the capital to produce the hardware, while Google maintains complete control over the the OS, Android, and will be competing against you with its own smartphone, which will, in its hardware, anticipate Android’s latest developments.  The future of Android OEMs is razor thin margins, no control over Android, no ability to shape Android to your innovation, and forced to keep pace with Google’s initiatives in hardware.  Now, doesn’t that sound like a great business to be in?

For the carriers, they have no one that they can deal with regarding Android or any particular Android smartphone.  Even Google isn’t a party that you can deal with, because they’ve open-sourced Android.  This means that neither Google or any of Android’s OEMs can give you any exclusive on any Android phone, unless some OEM invents a proprietary breakthrough in hardware, so it doesn’t pay for any carrier to do much marketing or provide special facilities for any Android phone.  For carriers, they won’t do much for Android phones but instead focus on their networks.

Carriers also won’t have much incentive to pay Android’s OEMs any kind of premium subsidy, because they will be able to choose from among many Android OEMs, each of which will be trying to undercut the others on price.  This will mean that no Android OEM will have any incentive to innovate its hardware, because none of them will make much profit on Android, so all innovation in hardware will have to come from Google.

Google’s benefit in all of this and its motive for making Android and also the Chrome OS is to promulgate platforms that exclusively provide its services (e.g., search, cloud services, etc.) that both lock in its customers and then use that lock-in to sell advertising.  For customers that by Android or the Chrome OS, it will mean that you can have any services that you want on your Android phone or Chrome OS netbook, as long as they are Google’s services.  This may lead to some antitrust problems for Google, if it tries to hinder either end-users, OEMs, or ISVs from substituting other services for Google’s on their Android and Chrome OS devices.

This is shaping up like a classic Apple v. Microsoft battle, but with Google playing the role of Microsoft, as it attempts to lock customers to its platforms and could services, so it has a lock on advertising to those customers. 

I guess that do no evil part of Google’s charter has become obsolete, as evil has become richly profitable.

Khaled

as far as I know this is the only android phone that anyone in the world can buy.
It may be successful if Google sold it globally without making any deals (Nokia’s been doing that).

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Nemo is right about Google/Apple being an epic repeat of Microsoft/Apple. It is funny how Apple seems to have learned nothing from the first battle and is about to repeat the same “not invented here” mistake in the second.

I disagree with Nemo on Verizon, who really couldn’t give a damn about Nexus One. The Google phone is essentially T-Mobile only and is essentially a Google beta which is not meant for widest distribution. I’m suprised they don’t have an invitation scheme. But they’re effectively tied to T-Mobile because the Nexus One won’t do AT&T 3G. People won’t switch to T-Mobile for this phone, especially if they have family plans and/or remaining contracts on other carriers. 6 months out, Verizon will have a version (or better) for themselves. I’d be more than happy to put a friendly wager on that.

All that said, depending on early adopters’ experience with the phone on AT&T, I may pick one up unlocked and alternate with my iPhone.

Nemo

Well, if Apple is making a mistake with the iPhone in its integration of its proprietary, OS X-based operating system, the iPhone OS, with the iPhone, it will have a lot of company, which includes the all of the leading makers of smartphones.  The only maker of a mobile OS that doesn’t make its own hardware is Microsoft.  Apple, RIM, Nokia, which has multiple OSs, Palm, and now Google all make their own hardware.  All, with the exception of Google, restrict their operating systems to their smartphones. 

The maker of a mobile OS to not restrict its OS to its hardware, other than Microsoft, is Google.  And that led to chaos for developers, as developers faced myriad instances of Android hardware that were running different versions of the Android OS.  It was simply impossible for any developer to target all the possible Android phones with one version of software that would work on any Android phone.  Google’s solution to that fatal problem is to produce its own reference-standard Android smartphone, the Nexus One.  It remains to be seen whether Google’s solution will work, but whether or not it works, it is an affirmation of Apple’s approach of tightly integrating the iPhone OS and all of its operating systems with its hardware.  Google’s attempt to present OEMs with a reference-standard that they must follow, if developers target it as the hardware standard, is as close as you can get to Apple’s approach, once you’ve open-sourced your operating system.

And Apple is having such success with OS X on its Macs that you have players chomping at the bit to infringe Apple’s copyrights in OS X so that they can steal it to use on their generic PCs; users, who want a stripped-down, cheap PC that runs OS X, whining without any merit about Apple being an immoral, and/or illegal monopolists that makes unduly expensive computers; and developers, who don’t like having to conform to Apple’s standards for security, compatibility, UI standards, and yes, taste, bitching without merit about Apple being too restrictive in with OS X in ways that are at least immoral, if not illegal.

And yes, Verizon will certainly get an Android phone to equal or even temporarily exceed the Nexus One, but it won’t have an exclusive on any Android phone.  Without that exclusive, Verizon has no competitive advantage over its rival carriers.  Thus, I would not be surprised to see Verizon either cancel or reduce its ad campaign for the Droid. I gather that Mr. Seidenberg isn’t the type of chap who likes getting screwed, so he is not likely to bend over and keep taking it.  Quite to the contrary, he will be looking for a way to return the favor to Google.  BING anyone.

SteveSF

The Nexus is a very fast and sleek phone with a stunning screen that will receive the full Android system’s capabilities.

It will also be much cheaper over a two year life cycle than an iPhone.

The big question to me is how T-Mobile will be received as the required carrier.  I believe it is superior to AT&T and will be well received.

Apple missed their big opportunity with the iPhone by allowing AT&T exclusivity for too long.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, first off, Nexus One is an HTC phone. Verizon’s Droid is a Motorola phone. Google isn’t making its own hardware. The Android OS is evolving quickly. Whether developers have to build different versions of their apps depends more on the nature of the apps and what system features they access. UI is more stable than say, access to GPS or cameras.

Nemo’s characterization of people who have complaints about Apple is over the top. Markets are conversations. How a company presents its products to the market, including terms of service, expandability, available channels, etc. are one side of the conversation, not simply dictation. When you look at the sheer number of people who build Hacintoshes or jailbreak iPhones, the consumer side of the conversation seems to be a substantial F-You to Apple over terms of service, even at potential legal risk to those consumers.

But we have rehashed this all before. Time to throw something new into the discussion. I think the thing that will give Google competitive advantage with Android is simply focus. Google is big enough with enough money to focus more smart person time on Google than Apple will with iPhone. Apple seems hell bent on inventing a whole new market with the mythical unicorn tablet. Much like Apple devoted all of its resources to iPhone and let Tiger slip (and come out the door buggy) three years ago, they’ll be focussing resources on the tablet launch while not protecting their rear flank.

Nemo

Dear Bosco:  Calling the Nexus One an HTC smartphone is like calling the iPhone a Foxconn smartphone.  Neither Apple or Google has manufacturing facilites for anything more than prototypes.  They both use third party OEMs to manufacture their designs, and according to all the open-source intelligence, that is exactly what Google did with the Nexus One, that is, had HTC make it.

I am glad to see you acknowledge that Google has a problems with the various Android phones being a compatible, standard target for all Android applications.

I stand by my statements about certain users and developers’ complaints about Apple’s devices.  While Apple has a conversations with the markets for its devices and with the ever growing legions of developers for its devices, its overwhelming success in those markets and its large and rapidly growing list of applications for its devices is incontrovertible evidence that it listens well and responds with products and service that find great favor with its customers and developers, as a whole.

Resource, neither human, physical, or financial, will give Google any advantage over Apple in developing the iPhone.  Apple has 34 billion dollars in short-term securities and cash and that amount is growing rapidly, and it has simultaneously been working on a tablet and the iPhone for at least three of the six years that it has been developing its table, yet it produced the revolutionary iPhone.  The iPhone and tablet are in an independent division, headed by its own Senior VP, Mr. Forstall, who reports directly to Steve Jobs.  And Mr. Jobs has spared no expense in developing the iPhone.  And, as has been recently reported, the iPhone and the tablet are synergistic products.  It seems that Apple has been working on the tablet longer than the iPhone, and that Apple developed many of the innovation in the iPhone for the tablet first.  Thus, the tablet and iPhone are related heuristic and synergistic products that have yielded innovative technologies for both platforms, which is an advantage in developing Android smartphones that Google doesn’t have   Therefore, for the foregoing reasons and more, resources will not give Google any advantage in developing Android.

gslusher

When you look at the sheer number of people who build Hacintoshes or jailbreak iPhones, the consumer side of the conversation seems to be a substantial F-You to Apple over terms of service, even at potential legal risk to those consumers.

How many people build Hackintoshes? 100? 500? Apple sells millions of Macs per year. To be significant, there would have to be at least a million Hackintoshes.

Same question about jailbroken iPhones, though, in that case, Apple gets all the money but none of the support costs.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Some estimates indicate that 10% of iPhones are jailbroken. Hackintoshes are in the tens of thousands, easily, judging from number of downloads of various recipes and replacement pieces in the various forums I’ve looked at. Google “cheap Mac”. The fifth upaid listing is a Hackintosh reference. I’m actually trying to gather some data on this, and I have a couple friends in IT departments at colleges who I’m brainstorming with to find out how overt it is on campus now. Battery life alone would justify Hackintoshing if you don’t have jitters about violating Apple’s SLA. I suspect it’s already out of Apple’s ability to affect any control whether they like it or not.

From TFA… One weirdness in the Terms of Sale that we quickly glanced through was that Google made sure you acknowledged that the manufacturer is HTC, and not Google. It reminds me of the iPhone TOS which say I should call Foxconn for support. Nemo, I’m just pointing out that some of the obvious facts don’t support your complete rosy scenario for Apple. You guys all know my rooting interest and bias in this. Just admit that you have one too and the discussion stays interesting.

daemon

Dear Bosco:  Calling the Nexus One an HTC smartphone is like calling the iPhone a Foxconn smartphone.  Neither Apple or Google has manufacturing facilites for anything more than prototypes.  They both use third party OEMs to manufacture their designs, and according to all the open-source intelligence, that is exactly what Google did with the Nexus One, that is, had HTC make it.

Nemo, Google spent a great deal of time and money working with Motorola on the Droid, the Droid is the only Android handset currently with Android 2.0. Would you say that the Motorola Droid is really “Google’s Droid?”

PS: HTC had the first Android handset, the HTC Dream, would you consider that phone to be the “Google Dream?” I mean, it was even the official developer’s phone!

gslusher

Some estimates indicate that 10% of iPhones are jailbroken. Hackintoshes are in the tens of thousands, easily, judging from number of downloads of various recipes and replacement pieces in the various forums I?ve looked at.

Thanks for the reply and information. We should put that in perspective. Take the Hackintoshes first. In the quarter ending September 30, Apple sold a bit more than 3 million Macs worldwide. If there are, say, 30,000 Hackintoshes, that would be roughly 1% of the Macs sold in that quarter, or a bit less than one day’s sales. I would guess that these Hackintoshes have been accumulated for a while—they weren’t all built from July through September. For a working hypothesis, assume that these have been accumulated for 2 years. From Apple’s 10K, the company sold 10.4 million Macs in FY 2009, 9.7 million in FY 2008. In 2 years, that would be 20.1 million. 30K Hackintoshes would be 0.15% of their sales. (If one uses only 1 year, that would be 0.3% of sales.) I guess that sort of loss could sink the company. (Of course, that assumes that each Hackintosh built represents a lost sale, though it may not.)

The jailbroken iPhone number is much larger. (The founder of Cydia estimated 8.5%, though he might have an incentive to come up with a high estimate.) However, the impact is harder to figure. Apple got the full price for the iPhone, for example. (FWIW, I do understand the difference between jailbreaking and unlocking an iPhone.)

Jailbroken iPhones can still use App Store apps, so the loss there would be even more difficult to figure. (Some jailbroken iPhones may be used to install pirated apps, but that would probably violate a bit more than Apple’s EULA or SLA.)

FWIW, Apple discusses this issue in their 10K on page 18, under “Risk factors.” The greatest risk to a single distribution channel would be alienating developers, of course, as you’ve said. OTOH, Apple might suffer as much or more if iPhones start crashing and become vulnerable to malware. (Before you mention the iPhone apps that you have that crash, note that I said “iPhones crashing.” That was a problem with Palm OS Treos and PDAs.)

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

It’s off topic for this post, but I have a prediction about Hackintoshes, specifically sub-$400 netbooks. In 2010, Apple will do one of three things: (1) Ship its own $400 netbook with Snow Leopard installed, (2) License Snow Leopard to HP, Dell, and MSI. (3) Concede the low end and ensure Hackintoshers don’t have a bad experience.

These will really take off with college students, and it will be as much about battery life as price. Kids have no qualms and aren’t terribly scared by the process.

Nemo

Dear Bosco:  I can assure that, while Steve Jobs is Apple’s CEO and is in possession of his faculties, Apple will never license OS X to anyone.  The same is true for Tim Cook, who stands in for Jobs in an emergency and who is his likely successor.

Steve Jobs is not opposed to building lower costs Macs.  He said that he would love to build less expensive Macs but that Apple does not know how to do so and produce a Mac of the quality required of a Mac that can fully exploit OS X for each category of customers that each Mac targets.  I still don’t think that Apple knows how to build a Mac for $400.00 that meets its requirements, so I think that you are wrong, and we won’t see a $400.00 Mac. 

And we certainly won’t see a netbook.  Both Messrs. Jobs and Cook have a very low opinion of netbooks.  Mr. Cooks described them as devices with crappy screens and crappy keyboards that can’t do very much.  Apple simply doesn’t think that netbook customers are its customers and is content to let others have them.  The rumored iSlate or iTable is as close as Apple is likely to get to a netbook. 

Those who are satisfied with a netbook will be getting it from another company and most likely will be using an OS other than OS X, if they want a reliable machine, because Apple won support any hackintosh and, beyond any peradventure, will sue any company that tries to make or support hackintoshes into oblivion.  And while Apple won’t do sue individuals, who install OS X on non-Apple-labeled hardware, as it could do, it certainly won’t do anything to prevent them from having a bad experience. 

To do otherwise would undercut the reason for buying a genuine Mac.  Think of it:  Apple get virtually no revenue from a hackintosh; the hackintosh loses the sale of at least some significant percentage of Macs, and Apple then is left with the very expensive task of support inferior hardware, which will have a much higher rate of default, that come in infinite configurations and that runs several versions of OS X that it doesn’t know and hasn’t tested.  It doesn’t take a Harvard MBA to conclude, given the foregoing, that supporting hackintoshes would be financial suicide.  If a user wants a Mac experience, he must buy a Mac, or Apple will leave him to his own devices, as it now leaves hackintosh users to their fate, convinced that that horrible experience will drive him to a Mac.  If you doubt me, I can produce the court documents from Apple, Inc. v. Psystar were Apple did exactly that, refusing to provide support for any of Psystar’s customers, telling them that they weren’t entitled to any support from Apple.  If a user wants the Mac experience, they must buy a Mac or suffer or buy another computer from someone else.  This is essential to Apple’s business model, and on that point there shall be no compromise.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Advantages of a MacBook or MBP over a generic netbook for students:
1. If you lose it or it’s stolen, you’re out $1000+ instead of $330ish.
2. Short life of non-upgradeable and non-replaceable battery means you have to find electricity between classes if you’re at school all day.
3. Can’t open in coach class on plane.
4. Makes a nice lap warmer.

If you start with the right netbook, it’s not a bad experience or even difficult right now. Nemo, you need to look at the margins here. If Apple cracks down on this, the difficulty would just hurt Apple’s coolness, especially among young people. From what I hear, this is becoming a real trend on college campuses, mostly for the reasons I cited above. Netbook sales will probably grow 200% in 2010, compared to 103% this past year. Steve and Tim can have all the aesthetic opinions they want, but if they remain out of sync with the market, they’ll just lose momentum they’ve gained.

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but TMO recently offered a paid discussion of Hackintoshing via a Premium Mac Geek Gab. I haven’t listened, but I wonder what more support enthusiasts would need. The guide they linked to for installing on a Dell Mini 10v is pretty straight-forward. Do you expect Apple to sue TMO? How about Gizmodo? Will Apple sue Gawker media, who have published numerous Hackintosh articles, obviously as part of a profit making venture? I think the main damage Apple did to itself with Psystar was let the bottom of the barrel drag things out for two years and suck up their attention. I think that’s what the Hackintosh community (including commercial entities that play hard in the community) is realizing right now, and what will embolden them to call Apple’s bluff more directly in the future. The preponderance of opinion over anything Apple does to curtail netbook Hackintoshing (lawsuits, activation steps, hardware checks, etc.) will be, “they have the right to do that, but it doesn’t make them less of a turd for doing it”.

At any rate, I would urge you to conduct a little experiment. Take the legal and Apple blinders off for a day and, if you can borrow a new netbook, carry it around with your iPhone. When you’ve got WiFi and need to look something up online, try with the iPhone, then try with the netbook. I think you’ll see what’s compelling about the form factor after the second trip to IE under XP or 7. I think you’ll see why, regardless of what Steve or Tim or Phil think or do, these will be a growing part of the Mac ecosystem in 2010.

gslusher

Advantages of a MacBook or MBP over a generic netbook for students:
1. If you lose it or it?s stolen, you?re out $1000+ instead of $330ish.
2. Short life of non-upgradeable and non-replaceable battery means you have to find electricity between classes if you?re at school all day.
3. Can?t open in coach class on plane.
4. Makes a nice lap warmer.

1. That ignores insurance.

2. One can buy an external battery that more than doubles the operating time of a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The HyperMac is one example. (It can also power/charge an iPhone or iPod.) The battery is not much different in size from most laptop batteries.

3. The 13” MacBook should fit in coach, though not many college students would put that as a high priority, given that they probably don’t fly very often.

That, however, begs the question by assuming that a netbook would be a good choice for a college student, irrespective of the factors you cite. How many college students are using netbooks? Would a netbook be sufficient to do everything most college students want to do? I interview high school seniors applying to MIT. We’ve talked about laptops, as some don’t have one. None has indicated any interest in a netbook. They want one computer that does everything they need to do, including photos and videos for Facebook, etc.

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