Google Steps Up Nexus One Endgame with AT&T Model

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It shouldn’t come as a total surprise, but Google today launched a version of its Nexus One handset with support for AT&T’s 3G network. The unlocked phone is available directly through Google for the same $529 price as the T-Mobile version. With support for the 850/1900/2100 MHz bands, this model works also works on Canada’s Rogers Wireless network. And also like the T-Mobile model, the phone offers quad-band voice support for usage outside of North America. The only major difference between this version and the initial one is that Google hasn’t announced a subsidized price for use with AT&T. Customers can purchase the T-Mobile version at full price or for a subsidized $179 with a 2-year carrier commitment.

The timing of this availability is rather coincidental. Just today I read several reports that the Google Nexus One is a flop, but I think those thoughts are off-base. No, it’s not just because I purchased my own Nexus One. The phone isn’t the “flop” at all — it’s the first device that caused me to part with my iPhone. Instead, it’s the marketing model that should be under scrutiny, and even so, we have to give it time. The U.S. carrier market with its subsidization and locked devices, along with the long-term contract model is ages old. Google isn’t going to change the model overnight, but by offering its superphone on more carriers, it stands a better chance at making that change. Let’s see how the Nexus One sales figures look three months down the road now that the device is on the second largest carrier in the U.S. By then we should see availability on the Verizon Wireless network with the same direct sales model, making the phone available on three of the top four U.S. networks.

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