blogs unearthed evidence that the Federal Communications Commission has blessed what could be a version of Google's Nexus One smartphone that runs on AT&T's 3G network.
This could be great news for consumers considering buying Google's Nexus One smartphone but don't want to join T-Mobile's network or can't switch to the carrier without incurring an early termination fee from their current carriers.
Google began selling the Nexus One Jan. 5 from its Webstore unlocked for $529 (running on GSM networks such as AT&T's 2.5G) and $179 for a two-year contract with T-Mobile.
Brighthand and Engadget found evidence on the FCC's Website of a new HTC-made device with the FCC ID number of NM899110, only one number off from the Nexus One, whose FCC ID is NM899100. See the identification codes on the Nexus One and an unknown device on Engadget here.
The unknown device supports 3G on WCDMA Bands I, II and V, meaning that it'll work on AT&T's network and most of Europe, Engadget reported. Brighthand, which noted the specs were yanked from the FCC's Website after the word got out, echoed Engadget's report, noting:
""The FCC filing is for an unknown HTC device with support for AT&T's 3G network, not the version of 3G used in Europe... Taken together, these add up to a device very, very similar to the Nexus One, but with full support for AT&T's voice and data service.""
There has been no concrete word on whether the Nexus One or any member of the alleged family of Nexus devices Google plans on selling through its retail Website would be available on AT&T, which hasn't supported the Android platform to date.
AT&T is the sole carrier of the iPhone, which has shipped millions of unit to date. The Nexus One is positioned as an alternative to the iPhone and is the flagship device for Google's march on the mobile Web. With Apple and Google increasingly at odds, AT&T is clearly going to side with Apple when push comes to shove.
Google said it would launch the Nexus One with service from No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Wireless, as well as Europe's Vodafone, this spring. Until then, it's available on T-Mobile's network, whose network size ranks fourth behind Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.
The Nexus One could use the additional carrier support. Those who bought the device with T-Mobile service are suffering from spotty 3G service or even prolonged outages and complaints have been overwhelming Google's Nexus One support forum since the phone launched.
When the T-Mobile 3G service works (instead of being out or oscillating between 3G and Edge), the Nexus One is pleasant to use. But the frequent complaints about poor service will continue to hinder Nexus One sales.
When the smartphone is supported by additional carriers, sales will pick up; the iPhone is a fine smartphone, but not everyone wants to buy Apple.