Google released a new unlocked version of its Nexus One Android phone that will work on AT&T Mobility's 3G spectrum bands, a move that could spur wider distribution of the smartphone.
The Nexus One, which originally was released in early January and which Google is selling through its own online store, had previously been compatible only with T-Mobile USA's UMTS bands as well as AT&T's slower EDGE data network. A new version of the device is now available that can work on the 850/1900/2100 MHz bands supported by AT&T and Rogers Wireless in Canada.
However, it's unclear whether AT&T will offer a subsidized price for the gadget. The phone with support for AT&T currently costs $529 without subsidies. T-Mobile offers a subsidized Nexus One for $179, with the purchase of a two-year service contract.
An AT&T spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the gadget. "We'll accept a compatible device on our network," AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook told the Wall Street Journal. A Google spokeswoman told the Journal that the company had been talking with AT&T about the phone for several weeks.
Companies such as Nokia have attempted to offer phones outside carrier channels, at unsubsidized prices, but such efforts largely have failed to catch fire with consumers trained to pay much lower, subsidized prices that require the purchase of one- or two-year service contracts. Indeed, mobile analytics firm Flurry reported earlier this week that after 74 days on the market, just 135,000 Nexus One units have been sold--sales sluggish in comparison with subsidized and heavily promoted phones like the Motorola Droid (via Verizon Wireless) and Apple iPhone (via AT&T).
Both Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have said they will sell the Nexus One sometime this spring.
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