December 12, 2009, 7:18 PM — Google has designed and will sell as early as next year a new cell phone that will not be sold through carriers, such as AT&T or Sprint. Google will sell it directly online, unlocked. Called the Nexus One, the phone will be manufactured by HTC, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Nexus One, of course, will be an Android phone.
The move is a risky one for Google. Carriers could theoretically cause all kinds of problems for the phone, such as charge high prices for service, or somehow block the phone, or some of its services, such as Google Voice.
It also seems likely that the phone may support other features carriers may object to, such as Google controlled downloadable content, VoIP over Wi-Fi (which enables phone calls without any carrier involvement) and a host of free applications carriers would rather charge for. It also undercuts the model of carriers discounting handsets, then gouging customers on monthly service charges.
The Nexus One is the same phone handed out to some employees at Google.