Google selling unlocked Nexus One phones to Android developers

Although Google terminated online consumer sales of its branded Nexus One smartphone in mid-July, the digital services giant is now offering unlocked versions of the device to registered Android developers. Price: $529, the same cost attached to unlocked Nexus One units offered at retail when the handset first went on sale earlier this year. "The Nexus One combines an up-to-the-minute platform (Android 2.2), modern hardware, and the pure Android software suite. 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," writes Android developer advocate Tim Bray on the Android Developers Blog. "Note that the Nexus One still ships with Android 2.1 but will download 2.2 soon after you turn it on; make sure you're near a fast network. As well as being an outstanding developer platform, it's a really nice everyday phone; we're really happy to have connected the right dots to make this happen."

Google unveiled the Nexus One in early January, concurrently premiering a hosted web store to sell selected devices running Android. Produced by HTC, the Nexus One--available locked via T-Mobile USA for $179--touted live, interactive wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery and voice-enabled keyboard alongside Google applications like Gmail, Google Voice and Google Navigation. The online store seemed like an even bigger announcement, giving Google and its partners a direct-to-consumer channel to sell hardware, multimedia content, Android Market applications and accessories. The Nexus One never found its footing among consumers, however, and operators proved resistant to Google's sales and distributions plans--in early July, Google CEO Eric Schmidt defended the concept, contending "[the Nexus One] was so successful, we didn't have to do a second one. We would view that as positive but people criticized us heavily for that."

For more on the Nexus One developer phones:
- read this Android Developers Blog entry

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