The rumors were true -- Google once again is selling unlocked smartphones
on its own, with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus going for $399 in the Google Play
The phone Google's offering is an unlocked pentaband GSM device, same as
what many of us had imported previously. The "pentaband" part means that
it'll work on AT&T and T-Mobile 3G/4G networks. And because it's unlocked,
you can take it out of the country and pop in another carrier's SIM card
without needing an unlock code.
So what happened? Google's Mario Queiroz told us at Google IO in May
2010<http://www.androidcentral.com/why-google-phone-store-didnt-work-out-and-what-happened-sprint-and-verizon-nexus-ones-io2010>that "The web store as a direct distribution model is really a very small
part of the overall Android strategy. With the Nexus One we had the
objective of bringing to market a very technologically sophisticated phone,
which we did, which really set a new bar for quality. And I think you've
seen a lot of the phones in the market today, that have come to market in
the past few months, have been influencing, in many ways ... by what the
Nexus One was able to do."
Sweetening the deal is that Google Wallet -- which for some time has been
official only on the Sprint Nexus S, and now on the Sprint Galaxy Nexus --
is preloaded on this GSM device.