A New Era Of Mobile Phone Buying?


buy-nexusIn the Q&A, Andy Rubin just suggested that he doesn’t think people will abandon their current mechanism of purchasing phones. But Andy just seems like the nice guy that doesn’t like confrontation… in reality he expects their latest announcement to be a disruption to the industry.

Want proof? Check out the Official Google Blog where Mario Quieroz makes the Google Hosted Web Store for phones seem like the main attraction of the day with the Nexus One only playing a role:

Well, today we’re pleased to announce a new way for consumers to purchase a mobile phone through a Google hosted web store. The goal of this new consumer channel is to provide an efficient way to connect Google’s online users with selected Android devices. We also want to make the overall user experience simple: a simple purchasing process, simple service plans from operators, simple and worry-free delivery and start-up.

The first phone we’ll be selling through this new web store is the Nexus One — a convergence point for mobile technology, apps and the Internet. Nexus One is an exemplar of what’s possible on mobile devices through Android — when cool apps meet a fast, bright and connected computer that fits in your pocket. The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call “superphones.” It’s the first in what we expect to be a series of products which we will bring to market with our operator and hardware partners and sell through our online store.

Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One features dynamic noise suppression from Audience, Inc., a large 3.7″ OLED display for deep contrast and brilliant colors and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ chipset for blazing speeds. Running on Android 2.1, the newest version of Eclair, the software includes innovations like a voice-enabled keyboard so you can speak into any text field, fun Live Wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery for richer media experiences and lots more. Of course, it also comes with a host of popular Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.

The announcement in and of itself doesn’t change the game completely. But it does start a move in a direction that could prove to change the game completely. The folks on stage also refused to discuss the details of the supply chain, inventory, distribution and more for the Nexus One which is paramount in determining the industry impact of this latest news.

Right now the ecosystem is incredibly stable with a very clear food chain where everyone eats and knows where to get their food. This could alter that delicate balance, cutting revenue out of several company’s diets. I could pull out plenty of examples from history where one animal was brought in to act as a predator to preserve the balance for another unwanted animal’s increase/decrease and although intentions were good, things turned out bad.

Now that I’m talking about animals too much, how about you bring us back on topic by giving us YOUR opinion on how this inventory works and whether this new “supply chain” will have a huge impact on the future of mobile phone buying?

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I dont really think it will change too much. its just like best buy mobile website where you can choose your provider and then your phone

  2. Too early to tell. From the Q&A it sounded like this was simply the very beginning.

    I for one believe the next big thing they will do is:

    Google Voice + cheap Google VOIP = $30~40 a month plans plus small calling charges. That would be their killer, game-changing product if you ask me.

  3. It seems anyone can make a ‘google’ phone (I assume it would have to be reasonably spec’ed with latest OS), have it on the web store so if someone is interested in Android, they’d have all the android phones in one place for easy comparison shopping. So instead of a Google phone that competes with motorola, samsung, etc (which was the big fear of N1) Google is actually helping them by showcasing their android phones.

  4. Shawn: From the Q&A it seemed clear it wouldn’t just be “another” retailer in the future. “Baby steps” is what the one guy called it. Let’s hope so.

  5. As a European, I can only laugh. Unlocked phones have been normal here for like 10 years. US is way lagging behind on this…

  6. fish – In the US the stupid companies all did different tech, making it costly to make a unified phone, so it never happens. I’m waiting until 4G, then at least a vast majority will be on the LTE Standard train.

  7. Icant be the only tmobile customer feeling burned by google and tmobile? Google did it dirty. Who the hell has $529 hanging around to buy a mobile phone. Tmobile and google major efffn fail.I’m canceling with the etf and switching to verizon.

  8. Well, so far the purchasing process for existing T-mo customers isn’t very streamlined… I’m on a grandfathered plan, and am willing to switch to the Even More plan to buy this phone, but can’t order it online because it doesn’t find me eligible for an upgrade. Why? I called T-mo, and the operator said that I need to be on the Even More plan prior to ordering the phone, lol. So instead of a one-stop-shop, I now have to go through two processes to buy this phone. Not a dealbreaker, but you get the idea.

    Anyway, I’m going to assume that if I do what the operator said, that everything will work, but I’m going to hold off for a few weeks and see if I can get some hands on time with the phone first.

  9. Oh, and btw… the one plan restriction is only so that Google can streamline the purchasing process. The T-mo rep confirmed, as I’ve been saying for weeks, that you can call in and switch to a plan with more minutes with no problem.

  10. I like this idea because it filters out all the crap. Only the best & brightest phones will be featured (a fair assumption) so it forces OEMs to step up their games. Hopefully means the end of useless/laggy/buggy skins/functions (samsung cube, etc). If you want the very best Android has to offer, you just head to

  11. So what makes the N1 so special? It’s a plain vanilla android phone with a faster processor and newer firmware. Heck, HTC’s Sense UI was more ground breaking than this, and they have multi-touch on their phones (Eris). Not at all impressed, sorry. I will give google kudos for trying to be more like Europe and their unlocked phones but at least there you can touch them and try them out before you buy. What an idiotic statement that Rubin said; “others will buy them and then you’ll have the opportunity to try it out”? (paraphrased) are you kidding!? haha

  12. Ordered on site – very easy – Free FedEx overnight shipping.


  13. I think Verizon knows what they’re doing. They know you can’t just have a link on their website…even a website like You have to have amazing TV ads and an entire army of Verizon salesmen to sell the Droid.

  14. Relatively few people will spend $500 for a phone. The people that will, will buy it in the first couple weeks. Then hopefully google will see the public does not see enough value in this phone to spend 3x what they are used to spending on the old subsidized model. Its nice that is an option with Tmobile, but Tmobile has far to few customers to make a big difference. This phone has to be subsidized on ATT and/or Verizon to have a chance to even be popular.

    IMHO; this “Announcement” was less than spectacular. It was; hmm, couldnt they have done this from a small booth at CES?

  15. VERY DISAPPOINTED with Tmobile. Upgraded to Even more plus several months ago for $35 month one time charge and was told I could buy any phone at full price (before upgrade time) and pay it out over 24 months interest free. Just called to get N1 and they said it doesn’t qualify because it is a google phone not a tmobile phone… Didn’t google say it was not a google phone?
    $500 is a bit steep with X10 coming and what might be coming from Apple announcement late this month

  16. @ Ari-free: Excellent point. Apple and Verizon spent Gazillion dollars on marketing iphone and droid. Google is spending close to zero on Nexus one. This phone is nice; but its not so nice that it requires no advertising.

  17. LowLevelNinja : yeah it seems google saw what Samsung, Sony, etc were doing and all the other phones still stuck on 1.6 and said “enough of this crap!” Old and funky versions of Android give google a bad name and makes it much harder for developers.

  18. “A New Era Of Mobile Phone Buying?”

    Hardly. A new era of frustration for current TMO customers. Unless you’re a current customer on TMO, and probably for Verizon when its comes, then you’re not getting the $180 price. Lame.

    I’m eligible for a full upgrade on any TMO phone right now. But with the upgrade through Google, I’m only eligible for a $150 discount from the $530 price. And this is AFTER I had to change my plan and remove my corporate discount.

    Sure I get it, but that doesnt make it any less dumb.

  19. Very easy ordering process, and though I agree the price is a bit high, you’re getting an unlocked phone with amazing tech. I do have a question related to the phone. Does anyone know if a VZN Droid screen protector will work on this phone? I like to have screen protectors on before I even use my touch screen phone.

  20. Was hoping for some loyalty discount for all us G1 customers that help start the android craze here in the US. NO such luck

  21. The HTC dude said they had a version with a keyboard in the works, right? Either way, I’ll just wait for the next Android handset sold through Google that comes with a keyboard whether it’s the Milestone/Nexus v2.

  22. @JR
    Nothing special? Why is the 480×800 OLED 3.7″ screen not special (iphone is 320X400 btw). Or the two mics, one on the back for noise cancellation? Or Google Earth? How about built-in voice dictation for any text field? Awesome looking and customizable UI (hello iphone? are you there?)? LED flash, integrated social/contacts/photos/email. Free voice support in turn-by-turn navigation. Proximity sensor.

    If you are an iphone fan, I can’t think of any feature (hardware or software) that iphone has that this doesn’t do better. iTunes is the only thing iphone users can cling to now and I loathe it anyway.

    Why won’t the iphone let you copy and paste files onto the device? I have to sync just to get pdf docs, music or movies onto the phone? WTH

  23. Doing the math, I’m no longer as put off by the $529 price… I’m currently a G1 user with a $65/mo plan (40 voice + 25 for text/data). The $180 price comes with a nearly identical monthly plan but for $80/mo. That difference comes to $360 over 2 years, bringing the total cost to $180 + $360 = $540, i.e. more than the $529 unlocked price.

    Probably going to put in an order before the Nexuses become backordered. I’m about done with my G1’s slowness & ready to upgrade…

  24. apparently for existing TMO customers, you can call and cancel your existing data plan, and then when you sign up through google, you will save an additional $100.

  25. I think the point is, compared to Droid, which will also have 2.1, what does Nexus bring to the table? Not much, unless you really love t-mobile. And over $500 for the unlocked isn’t going to get too many people either just for that.

  26. @ oleary
    only NEW customers get it for $180. Existing customers signing a new 2 year only get $150 off. You can get an additional $100 off by canceling your data with tmo before ordering. (allegedly)

  27. Will the Nexus One be available in Tmobile stores or just online only?

    If the latter, this isn’t great news as far as I’m concerned. I still want to be able to pick up, touch it, and demo the phone before committing to a 2 year contract or buying unlocked. Don’t care if there’s a 30 day refund. Want to be sure of the purchase before I buy it.

  28. yeah i called tmobile and right now i have 79.99 unlimited web, minutes, and text. they said i can’t just sign a two year contract and get the google phone. I HAVE TO switch to the crappy 500/month minute plan.. i mean seriously?? why in the world would i ever scrap unlimited minutes just to get a phone. on top of that she said that if i want to change my plan in the future i would be charged by google the difference in price (530 – 180) and a EFT by tmobile even though im not canceling the contract.. DOUBLE EFFED.. thanks corporate slime, i’ll pass..

  29. Google: PRICE MATTERS. Anything that doesn’t bring down prices of phones AND plans is not a game changer.

  30. @Cocoa
    You are right this phone is by far supérior to the iphone.
    BUT Android is to Apple OS what linux is to Windows, and most people just refuse to admit it.

    Lot of people think linux is superior… but when it comes to uses it… yeah that’s an other story.

    I’m convinced that the was majority of user prefer a polished UI smooth and full of eye candy. To actual fonctionality.. Lets face it there is a big m’as tu vue factor in the iphone success…

    HTC got it with there sense UI …

    As far as the no1 will pay $500 for the phone.. Well you are paying it anyhow if you buy with the help of a carrier.. You just don’t see it even thought you end up paying more …

    As soon as you’ll get your carriers offering plans without phone you’ll see the difference: about 50% of what you pay each month is in fact use to “pay the phone”
    If you dont change your phone every two years you still pay a this full inflated price..

  31. I want this phone very much but I can’t move to an individual plan. I don’t have enough to spend for an unlocked version as well. I would like to know if this will ever be available to family plans as well and not a certain type of plan as in my opinion it’s gonna leave out a lot of other people.

  32. All the people who whine about T-Mo not letting them pay the subsidized price before the 22th month of their contracts obviously don’t understand how subsidizing works.

  33. still getting the t-mobile server error:

  34. @KBlack
    Exactly ! :-)

    Get the phone, wait two months (not necessarily in this order). Then cancel your contract (let it expire) and get one of t-mobile’s unsubsidized plans. All-in-all, you will spend less.

    However, this won’t work if none of t-mobile’s unsubsidized plans will fit your phone-usage… (e.g. corporate accounts and such).

  35. I had high hopes for this phone, but I am a little upset by the pricing. Yeah I get it you have to pay more for the unlocked phone, But even subsidized through t-mobile you have to get the even more 500 plan????? Why not allow you to used the unlimited plan? 500 mins is not enough talk time for me and im sure most of you will feel the same way. Also why only sell it through googles phone store. If you really want to corner the smartphone market it should be readily available online, t-mobile stores, best buys, walmarts, and anywhere you can sell it. Make sure the phone is everywhere for people to see, and that they have more opportunities to buy it. I’m willing to be that when it comes out for Verizon it will be backed by another massive AD campaign (DROID) and it will be available in Verizon Stores.

  36. @cocoa
    I am a G1 owner and owned the HTC Eris as well but had to return it because I was having issues with dead spots with Verizon, if you can belive that. Anyway, my point was that it isn’t much of a big deal only because there are phones on the horizon that will match or be better than the N1. You know the HTC Bravo? Same 1ghz proc, same 3.7 AMOLED screen, same Eclair 2.1 but in a smaller package dimension wise AND the this is a BIG AND at least for me, HTC’s Sense UI. Having used both the vanilla android on my G1 and Sense on the Eris, Sense UI really changes the feel of the phone and the users’ experience for the better.

    To each his/her own I’d rather have the Bravo with Sense.

  37. US$520 too much?? I paid 1000 for a HTC KJAM many years ago. I paid 800 for a PS3, some people spend that on a graphic card to play the latest game.
    There are many devices that people pay good money for, and id bet a phone gets used more then then the average console or VGA card.
    People must remember that phones are changing in what they can do, so will their cost. If im on the couch im much more likely to grab the GF’s Iphone for a web search then get up go to my desktop / laptop.
    For the way in which a “superphone” integrates itself into your life, 520 is a bargain. If you disagree, you need to wait till you leave school and get a job :D

  38. @rkaid___

    Well said.


    My point was that the $530 price is actually not a deal breaker for me because the $180 price (even if I could get it) comes with a plan that $15/mo more expensive than the plan I am currently on, for similar service. Even for new customers (who aren’t tight on cash), it seems a better deal to me to buy the unsubsidized phone for $530 and then get one of the T-Mo “even more plus” plans for $60/mo instead of $80/mo. Subsidized phones are just financial wizardry – you’re paying the same (or less) in the long run going the “even more plus” route.

  39. $530 is a deal breaker for me. It’s a nice device and all but I just cant justify to myself spending $500+ on a cellular phone. That’s just insane. I’d rather buy a new computer for less that does more and is about 10x as powerful.

  40. If I thought the hardware platform on the Nexus One would last through a few years’ worth of Android iterations, I’d consider paying the $530. But the G1 has effectively become obsolete in a little over a year (my G1 running Android 1.6 is sluggish to the point of missed calls and frustration, not to mention a mediocre camera at best).

  41. @AGX
    You are right. It’s better to spend $500 on a more powerful computer (laptop for example) and then try to put that laptop in your fucking pocket and walk around with your shiny new pocket laptop.

  42. I have a different opinion on this subsidation of phones. Maybe…we buy these phones unlocked and never have to worry about breaking contracts and warranties through the carrier. sort of like, “its my pc, i bought it, i can put it on any carrier” i hear comment after comment that people are willing to break their contract over a new phone or when a new phone comes out. if they were sold unlocked with warranty and free to put it on any network then the carrier wont be obligated support your phone when it breaks.after all we spend at least $330 just to break a contract, just giving money away. lets say the unlocked phone breaks, is there any warranty or insurance from the manufacturer? just my opinion. i have a g1 and i am thinking of getting the n1 and after a new android phone comes out (probably 6 months from now) i will end up selling it and buy the next version.

  43. I just realized I could get a new TV for the price of this phone… I still really want the phone though!

  44. Tried to order the phone after waiting weeks and could not because the website said I was not eligible for upgrade either because I had a family, shared, flex pay, or corporate plan. I contacted Tmobile and was told that I didn’t not have either plan and it was because I was due for a 22month upgrade until June. This was not correct because I am due to for a 22 month upgrade but at some point in time a Tmo rep missed up my account and upgrade date. Anywhoo, the first rep tried everything to fix the issue nothing worked. Google can not be contacted by phone so I sent an email in which they emailed me back with a generic note stating the price of the phone. Called Tmo back again the next rep was very rude and said there was nothing they can do to fix my upgrade date and that is not big deal to wait 5 months and when I said I was gonna cancle my service he offered to connect me with the cancelation dept instead of trying to keep me as a customer. Later last night called back talked to another rep to he was very helpful and claimed he fixed my upgrade date but he kept stating that my corporate discount did not affect anything but I still believe it those. He gave me a number to call google which was an HTC sales department and tech support. The rep in the sales dept stated alot of Tmo customers have been having the same issues with ordering the phone and that they have a review team that are reviewing cases to determine if they qualify for the upgrade price. I think this is all to much hassle for one phone. No one should have to go through so many different barriers to purchase a phone. I think google messed up trying to sale the phone this way. They should have just released it on Tmo and gave their sales dept the authority to sale the product. I was also made about the price difference. Way should loyal Tmo customers have to pay more than new customers for this phone…aren’t they trying to keep us or send us to ATT for an Iphone that is much cheaper.

  45. What crap it is for use existing T-Mobile customers having to pay more thatn new customers.
    Great job Google
    Great job T-mobile
    Where is the local AT&T store anyway?

  46. @ monique I feel your pain because I went through the same crap. My upgrade I was told wasn’t until this economy why in the hell would they sell this phone for this price?? Tmobile are a bunch or lackies(dummies).tmobile will either lose customer right now for this dumb shii or everyone like me will wait until my contract is over and go with verizon. And damn verizon is way more but I know they wouldn’t have agreed to this dumb ass way of getting a product out.the rep in the cancelation deparment just wanted to compare the differences of the droid and what tmobile has. I’m like wtf I want the n1 and yoy still talking about the cliq,mytouch or behold2. Monique a tell tell sign google is bullshit,you tried contacting them and they sent you a generic message. Like I said before this phone will seperate the haves and the have nots. I know damn well I ain’t paying 500 anything for a phone and turn around cgange my plan and and possibly going over minutes. In which in the long run with cost me even more money. Ehhh ehhh google and tmobile. I guess its the g1 until the xperia x10(which is better if you ask me) monique google search that phone. Trust me the n1 has nothing on this phone and tmoCHUMPS are supposed to be getting this phone y the spring cross your fingers.

  47. Looking at Vodafone’s website they’re coming out with the iPhone 3Gs so I’d assume it’s 3G bands are identical to AT&T no? So just a thought, can’t you buy it unlocked VIA and ship it to a US address and use the 3G on AT&T since it’s unlocked??

  48. @o’leary

    that’s the way! I’ve got my Nexus one now unlocked and a TMO simcard with 500 mins + unlimited weekends and evening + unlimted text + data for $60 a month. works out cheaper in the long run and your not tied to an annual contract.

  49. Seems to me there is a big difference between European unlocked phones and those in the US (although some of this is speculation). In Europe there are providers with SIM only plans that are less expensive than a traditional plan. If you buy an unlocked phone at full price why should I have to pay for a monthly rate plan that has a phone subsidy built into the cost? Shouldn’t I get a discount on the monthly plan due to the fact that the carrier isn’t fronting me $300+ dollars in subsidies for a smart phone? Plus, with this phone the support will be through google and htc, not the carrier putting less burden on the carrier for support costs. Basically you’re paying an extra $300-$400 up from simply to to not have to sign a contract with a prorated early termination fee that is normally $250-$350. Seems to me that is would be cheaper to sign the contract to get the subsidy and pay the prorated etf if you want out. T-mobile may have discounted plans like this but VZW and AT&T do not to my knowledge. Just my $0.02

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