Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is hooking up with a new friend in the wireless industry. Two announcements from Sprint (NYSE: S) and Google Monday would have ordinarily dominated the interest of the mobile world, if not for all the discussion over AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. The carrier is getting its own version of the Nexus S, a version of Samsung’s Galaxy S phone that Google played a role in designing. Sprint’s version, of course, will run on its WiMax 4G network, whereas the first Nexus S ran on T-Mobile’s network
In keeping with Google’s reduced expectations for its Nexus project–which was originally designed to bypass traditional distribution channels with a Google-only store–the Nexus S will be available from places like Best Buy and Sprint’s retail stores.
Perhaps the more interesting news, however, was Sprint and Google’s decision to integrate Google Voice into all Sprint phones. Google Voice lets users use a single phone number that can ring multiple phones, such as your mobile phone, home phone, and office phone. It also transcribes voice mails in an inbox-like display, with varying degrees of success.
So far, that app has not been a huge hit with carriers and phone makers, with Federal Communications Commission having to intervene in a dispute between Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Google, and AT&T (NYSE: T) over whether or not Google Voice should be released for the iPhone. But Sprint is wholeheartedly embracing Google Voice, replacing its voice mail system with the app and allowing customers to use either their existing Sprint number or their Google Voice number as the primary number for their Sprint phones.
It might take a while for this to roll out to Sprint users: Google said it would be available “soon,” and that interested customers could sign up here to receive more details when it’s ready.
Now that T-Mobile is preparing for a possible life as part of AT&T, it will be interesting to see if Google moves to deepen ties with other carriers. Verizon and T-Mobile have been reliable Android partners over the life of the software, with T-Mobile providing a lot of early support for new Android versions and Verizon putting its substantial might behind the platform.