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Summary:

And then there were four. Sprint today announced the Google Nexus One is coming soon to the Sprint network. With the same superphone available on all four U.S. carriers, Google has flipped the traditional model of picking a carrier first and a phone second.

nexus one thumb

And then there were four. Sprint today announced that Google’s Nexus One is coming to the Sprint network, although the exact date is still forthcoming. It also sounds like the two companies are chatting about qualifying plans, so unlike the AT&T version – just announced yesterday — there could be a specific Sprint plan for use with the Nexus One. That makes sense because GSM-based unlocked phones have plans tied to the SIM card — CDMA phones typically have no SIM, so the plan is tied to the phone. Sprint does point out that its Everything Data 450 plan at $69.99 a month — the same plan I used with my Palm Pre — would offer a great value for the Nexus One. I suspect that any of the Everything Data plans will be choices for the phone.

There’s nothing new in the way of specifications — Sprint is getting the same Nexus One as the other three U.S. carriers. In fact, the whole Sprint press release looks more like a Google PR to me. The release even points out how useful Google Voice is for managing calls and voicemail transcription. And the phone will be offered online, which continues the Google direct-sales model.

It’s interesting to note that for first time in recent memory, Google has finally flipped the traditional U.S. cellular sales model. How’s that? Typically customers here pick their carrier first and then decide which of the phones that carrier offers will best meet their needs. Once the Nexus One becomes available for all four carriers, customers can pick the phone first and the carrier second. That assumes they want a Nexus One of course, but I’d expect more Android phones added to the Google sales desk. And it’s probably not the first time this has happened — everyone offered a RAZR, if memory serves — but it’s the first time I recall it happening with a cutting-edge smartphone so quickly.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

  1. Isn’t there a Blackberry (other than the Storm) on every carrier?

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  2. Until they get subsidized on every carrier, this is really a non-story for most, honestly.

    Normal people aren’t going to spend the $529 on a phone.

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  3. Supersonic or Nexus… Supersonic or Nexus… decisions, decisions.

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  4. How do you like your Palm Pre? I have had one since last December and I love it. I used to have a Palm Treo 650 and Palm Centro too.

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  5. This is how I see the Nexus One and supersonic debate going down:

    The supersonic will be a Wimax device, WITH Sense, with a similar processor to the Nexus one. The caveat: It has sense, thus updates are going to be slow, just like the hero. By the time you get a significant upgrade, a new model will be out soon. Wimax may cost more per month, hopefully not

    The nexus one will be 3G only, no sense, and easily upgreadable straight from google.

    So, depending on your needs, and what you value (4G/upgradability). You, the consumer will have 2 great Android choices on Sprint. Each with pluses and minuses.

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  6. I think this is going to be the way mobile phones will be sold. This way it’s not on a certain carrier for months before its available with other carriers. They would have to workout the support side, so if you have problems with phone your not left out not knowing whir to get support.

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    1. I think this is a good way for phones to be sold, but there is a better way. Sell one device that supports all the radio’s for each network.

      Its been reported that blackberry manufactures phones that support all radio bans for each network, but will customize the phone for the carrier (thus locking/unlocking certain radio bands).

      Think about it, you just bought a brand new phone from google. You turn the phone on, it asks for your existing carrier and downloads the necessary files for your phone. A user can register the phone with their log in, without walking into the store. If you are starting a new contract, it has the options to select different rate plans.

      The bonus of this: If you switch carriers you can take your phone with you!

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  7. Well a partial flip anyway…

    You article didn’t say that once Sprint is picked as a carrier, is the phone locked to Sprint? How about Verizon?

    The U.S. will only have a true marketplace when customers dissatisfied with their service can easily move their phones to a new carrier. Discussions about ETF’s aside, this will require phones that work on all U.S. frequencies and a CDMA SIM (Verizon was planning one a few years back.)

    Google has made a good first step but it will probably take something like the FCC requiring all phones sold in the U.S. to support all U.S. frequencies to truly flip the market on its head.

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    1. Correct, this only the first step. I can’t say if a CDMA Nexus One can be moved between Sprint and Verizon because Google hasn’t offered any details. Typically, it’s not something that’s easily done, but of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t be. And if Google is serious about a complete overhaul of the traditional model, they’ll need an environment as you describe — multi-frequency phones. I don’t expect a situation in the U.S. where you can simply move one from from carrier to carrier until we get 4G rolled out across all the carriers, and even then it’s not guaranteed.

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  8. i hope that this is also offered unlocked for use on the alternate CDMA prepaid carriers such as cricket and metroPCS or for that matter even verizon(yes. verizon will activate phones they do not sell if the PRL(primary roaming list) has been properly ‘flashed’ so that the phone works on verizon network.)

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