Step right up and into the Google Nexus Website, where the search engine is giving away free Samsung Nexus S smartphones via retailer Best Buy today only. Google posted this note on its Google.com homepage (via Search Engine Land):
Clicking the link brings you to the Nexus Website, where users can get the phone free from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile with a two-year contract:
So why would Google be giving away the devices? I'm not sure they're selling as well as Google would like them to.
I know a whole lot of Googlers I met or encountered at Google I/O in May were using Nexus S devices, but beyond that I'm not sure anyone but carriers prove these devices sold a whole lot. T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint won't talk specific Nexus S sales numbers.
And that is a bigger deal than hurt feelings and hardware left on the shelf until it becomes a developer phone du jour (hello, Nexus One).
Why? Without these phones in the hands of thousands or millions of users, the Google Wallet mobile payment service will be a tough sell.
The Nexus S devices are fitted with secure near field communications (NFC) chips that enable secure credit card storage and transactions on Wallet.
Without those chips, the Nexus devices are just more high-end Android smartphones with a lot of Google software and no bloatware. Without those phones, Wallet may be DOA.
So let's step back a second. Sprint halves the price of the Nexus S 4G last month to $99. AT&T launches days later at the same price.
Now Google and its partners are giving the smartphones away. Google Wallet is launching in New York and San Francisco soon. The company needs to get more of these phones out in the market for Wallet to find purchase, so to speak.