Google will sell its Nexus One smartphone for $529.99 for users who want to pop in their existing SIM card, or with a two-year T-Mobile contract for $179.99, according to documents leaked to gadget Website Gizmodo.
The price points, which a Google spokesperson declined to comment on for eWEEK Dec. 30, come as buzz is peaking over the Nexus One, a speedy, HTC-built mobile phone based on version 2.1 of Google's Android mobile operating system.
Google Dec. 29 scheduled an Android press event at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters Jan. 5, just two days before the commencement of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show.
However, how much Google planned to charge for the device, and whether or not it would offer it unlocked and unsubsidized or locked and subsidized by a carrier partner such as T-Mobile, was a matter of much debate. Also floated was the rumor that the Nexus One would initially be offered by invite only, but it looks as though that may be put to rest.
If these documents are legitimate, Google is selling the Nexus One unlocked and unsubsidized for a hefty sum of $529.99 and through T-Mobile for $179.99 with a two-year contract. This latter scheme matches the price point T-Mobile initially charged for the inaugural Android smartphone, the G1, in 2008.
Rate plans are a key point in any wireless contract and T-Mobile will offer the Nexus One with a $79.99 monthly plan that includes 500 talk minutes with unlimited nights and weekends, text messaging and Web usage, according to the documents.
Gizmodo also noted existing T-Mobile customers cannot keep their current plan if they want a subsidized phone; they would have to switch to the Nexus One plan.
Users may also purchase a Nexus One desktop docking station for $39.99 or a Nexus One car docking station for $49.99 through Google's Nexus One Web site, which could be live Jan. 5 after the press event. That site will be www.google.com/phone, and each Google Account users may only buy five Nexus One phones.
By all accounts of Google employees using the device and journalists who have seen it in action, the Nexus One hews to Google's vision of a suitable communications device for powering Web applications.
It's fast and performs well, superior to the popular Motorola Droid offered by Verizon Wireless, which is on pace to soon sell one million-plus units. More than any Android phone to date, the Nexus One provides a mobile Web experience that rivals Apple's iPhone, which bodes well for a fragmented Android platform that boasts a handful of iterations.
Meanwhile, Forrester Research analyst Michele Pelino expects big things for Android devices among business users, predicting 10 percent of enterprises to manage or support Android-based devices next year.
"As we head into 2010, expect Android smartphones to capture the attention of corporate smartphone users," Pelino wrote in a Dec. 18 note.
"Why? Heavy industry support from Qualcomm and jointly developed devices from Verizon, Motorola, and Google, as well as the open nature of the Android platform let in-house and third-party application developers easily create new applications and integrate them with enterprise apps."