More Points on the Nexus One

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-12-16 Print this article Print

4. Unlocked, or Locked with T-Mobile?

Indeed, while the blogosphere was in a tizzy over an unlocked GSM device in the Nexus One, Reuters claims T-Mobile will subsidize the phone cost provided customers agree to a two-year contract. Alternatively, we suppose, one could buy it from Google for $500 or whatever the at-cost production value is. Pick your poison. Pay upfront for no lock-in, or pick T-Mobile, which is starving for more customers. Such is the state of the wireless business in the U.S.

5. Android for All

Then you have Android and Me, which reports that the Nexus One will be an affordable $199, subsidized by Google. What's the catch? The smartphone will require a Google account, so Google will be basically buying new mobile users. Google officials have made a big deal about mobile searches increasing 30 percent in recent quarters. Imagine what a Google phone would do for that number.

6. Nexus One for Consumers? You Must Be Crazy

Industry analyst Jack Gold has a markedly different theory: "Despite the widespread conjecture of the past few days, it is highly unlikely that this phone will ever be offered to the general consumer, let alone sold by Google directly to end users." Gold sees the Nexus One as a test bed for several thousand Google workers and developers. "Testing is the path that Google has chosen for this device, and not the path of competing with its customers." The company wouldn't alienate Motorola, Samsung and the carriers.

7. Then Again

With Apple's iPhone dominating the smartphone space, Google may believe that it must roll out and subsidize the Nexus One -- a drastic, bold move by any measure -- to gain serious headway in the mobile market. It's not so much about the devices as it is about the mobile searches and the ads Google wants to show along with THEM. Sure, Google serves ads on Google searches executed through the iPhone now, but who is to say Apple won't shut Google out for a better deal with Bing?

8. So What?

The Wall Street Journal doesn't believe Google needs its own special phone to succeed in mobile, noting (paywall): "Mobile apps are taking the place of Web sites. While there clearly will be a place for search in helping people find apps, Web-surfing behavior will change on mobile. But Google became the dominant player in Web search without designing computers. It is unclear why it needs to sell mobile phones to dominate mobile search." One can't help but think Google and its supporters might argue the alternative

9. Meet The New SAAS -- Smartphones as a Service

More broadly, Google wants to uproot the current wireless phone market. Google wants to flip the mobile carrier and distribution market upside-down, becoming the place you go to search for and buy a mobile phone -- before you even pick a carrier, number, voice and data plans, or extras, according to this piece in Business Insider, which spells out how this purchase process would work. It's a must read, and, while BI is identifying the business model, eWEEK hereby claims the smartphone-as-a-service (SAAS) moniker.

10. Bonus Point (Cold Water)

With all that's been speculated, from pros to cons of the device, doesn't the timing of all of this seem a bit off? Why would Google seed the Nexus One with employees, then turn around and mass sell it to consumers in January. How much testing could employees possibly do for Google in a few weeks or a month before the search engine is allegedly supposed to turn around and start selling this to the mass market? Seems sketchy, unless of course the only thing that's been completely misreported is the January timeline.  


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