Google Nexus One Becomes Developer Phone

Google Aug. 5 made its Nexus One smartphone its official phone for developers. The Android 2.1 device, which Google stopped selling to consumers, will upgrade to Android 2.2 when users turn it on.

Google August 5 made its Nexus One smartphone its official phone for developers, three weeks after receiving its last shipment of the device from HTC.

Google has offered unlocked phones to registered Android developers to test the operating system and applications since launching Android more than two years ago.

Now developers can buy the Nexus One unsubsidized for $529, the same price Google offered it to consumers.

While the Nexus One ships with Android 2.1, the developer version will run Android 2.2, which sports a faster Web browser and performance, enterprise utilities and a cloud-to-device messaging API, as soon as it is turned on.

"It's a good choice both for people who want to build Android applications using either the SDK or the NDK, and those who want to experiment with modified versions of the Android platform," said Google Android evangelist Tim Bray.

Interested developers must sign into their Android developer account and click on the Development Phones link to buy the Nexus One.

Google launched the Nexus One in January, offering it to consumers with a two-year contract from T-Mobile or unsubsidized for $529.

The device, which resembles Apple's iPhone in many ways, was well received by reviewers but failed to catch on beyond the most diehard Google and Android fans.

Consumers didn't take to Google's method of offering the smartphone exclusively for purchase online.

Google Android head Andy Rubin acknowledged the reticence of people to buy a device without handling it and the company closed the Webstore.

Verizon and Sprint, which had vowed to support the Nexus One, offered users the HTC Droid Incredible and HTC Evo 4G, respectively, in lieu of the Nexus One.

Now the device lives on for Android developers.