What exactly is it that Google likes so much about T-Mobile? Once again, as when Android first hit the wireless market, T-Mobile is the flagship wireless carrier for Google. This time it is for the newest Android phone, the Nexus One, which is made by HTC and sold officially by Google.
It started back in 2008 when Android was in its infancy, and yes that was really not too long ago. T-Mobile was the only wireless company that was willing to carry something new and somewhat revolutionary like the G1, also made by HTC. No one except Google one wanted to try to compete with Apple, and the reality is that the G1 was kind of an ugly phone. Although you could do some cool things with it, and Android was open source, the general feeling was that development-wise Android was not ready for prime time.
Well, now it is. And T-Mobile, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, is reaping the benefits from that earlier partnership. If you don’t opt for the $179 Nexus One with a two year plan, the “unlocked” phone will cost $529. But because the phone is set up for GSM, you can only use it with T-Mobile or AT&T. With Nexus One on the AT&T network, the phone can only operate at EDGE data speed, which is not as fast as the 3G on T-Mobile. This is because the two networks operate on different frequencies. Oh yeah, and it only works in the U.S.
So T-Mobile is the one who is benefiting from the decision to launch Android in the first place. Will there be other versions that will cater to other wireless carriers? There is supposed to be in the spring. We’ll see whether Google decides to make versions that cater to each carrier or not. Whatever the case, it’s interesting to see that Google is selling this phone on their own website instead of T-Mobile’s. There is a strategy in play here behind the reason to do that.
Bottom line? Expect this to be a trial run on how Google plans to release a netbook with Chrome OS. If the Nexus One is successful, I would expect Google to sell a Chrome OS netbook on their own and offer service plans from the wireless carrier of the users’ choice down the line. Intially I would expect T-Mobile to get the first crack at selling wireless data plans to subsidize the netbook’s cost as well.
So, when is Google just going to be billing for data service as well?