Google confirms plans to sell own mobile phone

January 5, 2010 3:24:29 PM PST
Mountain View's Google officially jumped into the phone business Tuesday in an apparent move to take advantage of the way people surf the internet on mobile phones instead of computers.

The Nexus One, designed by Google "in close partnership with HTC," is the convergence of a lot of engineering, of both the hardware and the software it operates on. Together, it has created the Nexus One smartphone which is as thin as a pencil at 11.5mm.

At Google's headquarters Tuesday, the company most known as an internet search giant unveiled its first venture into consumer hardware and direct sales. During a morning news conference, Google showed off the mobile device it says is where "the web meets the phone." The phone had been widely anticipated since Google handed out the device to its own employees three weeks ago.

The Nexus One is expected to compete fiercely with Blackberry and Apple's iPhone. It has a 3.7-inch HVGA AMOLED touch screen that can be swiped with a finger, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, colorful graphics and a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 1-gigahertz processor. The phone also features a compass, GPS and both light and proximity sensors that help with power saving.

The phone will use the Android operating system, free software which Google first introduced on other mobile phones in late 2007. Android is an open platform designed to make it easier to interact on a mobile phone with websites and services. It has taken off globally by leaps and bounds. Google says it has seen a five-fold increase in mobile searches on Android smart phones.

"A little over a year ago, we had one device, on one carrier, in one country. And since that time, we can now count more than 20 devices, on 59 carriers, in 48 countries, in 19 languages," said Mario Queiroz with Google.

The Nexus One will be available for sale in the U.S. and in three overseas test markets, the U.K., Singapore and Hong Kong. Marketing for the Nexus One and the Google phone store will be all online, so consumers should not expect a big TV ad push as seen with Apple and the iPhone. Google's Andy Rubin predicted that as the Nexus One gets in the hands of consumers, it will create its own buzz as people want to touch and try it.

Google is expected to offer consumers a variety of options for buying the phone, from paying the full price of $530 for an unlocked version, to getting it at a subsidized price of $180 by signing up through a T-Mobile contract

By offering its own smartphone, the internet search giant will have more control over tracking how and where people surf the web. The company appears to be strategizing the future for when mobile advertising becomes more lucrative, by having more phones on the market. Nonetheless, Google says it is not out to replace retailers. It just wants to provide more choices for consumers and a quick way to showcase what Android phones can do.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Watch ABC7 News tonight for an updated report from ABC7 Moneyscope reporter David Louie.


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