Google on Tuesday began selling its Nexus One phone for AT&T’s network, but only a full-price version is available, highlighting the challenges the search giant faces in trying to achieve its vision of an open mobile environment.
The AT&T phone costs US$529. It is not available at a discounted price with a contract.
“We are treating this the way we would treat any other device that a customer buys elsewhere and brings to us,” said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T. Someone who buys the AT&T version of the Nexus One must bring it into an AT&T store, where a worker will run a credit check, sell the user a SIM card for $25 and set them up with a voice and data plan, he said.
He declined to speculate on whether AT&T might offer the Nexus One in the future for a discount with a contract.
Google did not immediately reply to a request for comment about why this version of the Nexus One is not available at a discount with a contract. The newest Nexus One will also work on the Rogers Wireless network in Canada.
Google launched the Nexus One Android phone in January. At the time, it said that it hoped to create a new model that would let consumers choose a phone and then an operator.
But the challenges with executing such a vision quickly became apparent. The original Nexus One realistically could only work on T-Mobile’s network. Buyers could use it on AT&T’s network, but would not be able to use 3G. Because of technology choices and spectrum allocations in the U.S., Google will have to sell different versions of the Nexus One phone, each designed to work on a different network.
People can buy the Nexus One for $179 with a two-year contract with T-Mobile.
Google has also said that it is working with Verizon and Vodafone to deliver versions of the Nexus One that will work on those networks. It says that those phones will be available in the spring, which is typically the second quarter.