Another day, another round of speculation about Google's new phone, reportedly dubbed Nexus One.
According to reports by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, Google is working with T-Mobile USA to sell its upcoming HTC-made smartphone at a discount to customers who sign a T-Mobile contract, in addition to selling the phone unlocked. Additionally, according to the reports, which cited unnamed sources, Google is looking to strike similar arrangements with other wireless carriers.
The possibility of a pact between Google and T-Mobile was first raised yesterday on the AllThingsD blog. "In the long term Google will become a seller and get commission from operators," a source told Reuters.
According to the WSJ, Google could begin selling the phone unlocked, directly to consumers, via its website early next year. Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others employ similar distribution strategies--selling phones directly to consumers without the aid of a carrier--but such tactics generally result in low volumes since most U.S. consumers are accustomed to buying cheaper, subsidized phones from wireless carriers. Carriers recoup the cost of the upfront subsidy in monthly service fees.
Interestingly, Nokia recently pulled back from its U.S. direct-to-consumer effort, shuttering its retail outlets in New York City and Chicago. In explaining the decision, Nokia said 90 percent of phone purchases in North America are made through wireless carriers. Nokia said it would continue to work with operators as well as retail partners such as Amazon.com and Best Buy.
Representatives from Google and T-Mobile declined to comment.
Report: Google to debut Nexus One Android phone next year
T-Mobile debuts new unlimited calling plans
Google Voice has more than 1.4M users
Rumor Mill: Google to make its own Android phone
A look at Android's march into the mainstream