The Nexus One Gets AT&T Friendly

By  |  Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

When Google released its Nexus One “superphone” back in January, it was available in both a subsidized version locked to T-Mobile and a $520 unlocked one. But even the unlocked one wouldn’t work on AT&T’s frequencies at 3G speed. Which left it as a sort of pseudolocked phone: Almost nobody would choose to buy it and use it on AT&T rather than T-Mobile.

Now Google has a new version of the Nexus One that’s compatible with AT&T 3G.  It’s not an “AT&T Nexus One,” exactly: It’s only available as a $529 unlocked phone, and Google appears to have no marketing relationship with AT&T. But given how crippled AT&T’s own first Android handset is, the AT&T-friendly Nexus One is currently the coolest Android phone that’ll run on that carrier. By far. And it’s also the first new AT&T-ready handset to remotely rival the iPhone for general sex appeal.

Of course, at $529, it’s a phone with an even more limited market than the apparently slow-selling existing Nexus One. But I’m especially curious about one thing:  Will the people who spring for it find it to work any better on AT&T’s network than the iPhone 3GS does?


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Richard Says:

    Good question. Maybe I’ll wait for someone else to be the guinea pig before laying down my $529.

  2. Mike Cerm Says:

    I doubt an AT&T-compatible model is going to sell well. On T-Mobile, paying the full price of the unsubsidized phone means saving ~$20/month. Since AT&T’s rates are the same regardless of whether they’ve subsidized your phone or not, is a Nexus One really worth $529 vs. the $99 iPhone that AT&T will sell you? It’s a pretty tough sell, and obviously most people will just take the iPhone.

    If anything, I would think that anyone considering a Nexus One should give T-Mobile a second look. If you can get the exact same phone on each network, is paying almost twice as much for AT&T’s service really worth it? A lot of people are only on AT&T’s network simply because of the iPhone. If an equally desirable phone is available on a much cheaper network, I think that would be a pretty good incentive to switch.

  3. Dave Zatz Says:

    Think I’ll still hold out for a HTC Desire. Like the Nexus One, but with Sense UI (and touchpad instead of trackball). But Mike makes a really good point. Better rates on T-Mobile. Of course, it’ll all be a moot point when the next iPhone hits and I purchase it.

  4. Tech Says:

    I think I would rather the HTC.

  5. mexicomike Says:

    i just bought (unlocked from Google)a Nexus One last Tue. (ordered Sat 3-6). I agree, I’m not very fond of AT&T after 5 years, and went with T-Mobile. Would it be worth/(and/or) an upgrade to return and get the newer version. I don’t plan on going bact to AT&T, Would the latest version work OK with T-Mobile?
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  6. heulenwolf Says:

    Very good question on whether the Nexus One will work better than the iPhone on AT&T. I’ve heard stories that the various Bleakberries do. I like how Google is putting this out there with or without an agreement in place with the carrier. I don’t expect it to sell well compared to subsidized phones but having the option changes the game, somewhat.

    @mexicomike – This isn’t a new version of the Nexus One, AFAIK. Its the same phone with a fully-AT&T-3G-data-compatible radio in it. AT&T and T-Mobile 3G data services (not voice, not 2G or EDGE data) work on different frequencies in the US. Apparently, there isn’t a cost effective single radio that works with both.

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