December 15, 2009, 7:55 AM — Last Friday night, at a company party, Google gave out phones to all attendees, and in doing so started a whirlwind of publicity and speculation that ran through the weekend and into Monday. It didn't take long before the leaks (Can you even call it a leak when you hand the things out to a bunche of people?) started springing. Google's only official word on these phones came in a blog post where it acknowledged that employees were given "mobile labs" for the purpose of dogfooding (as they call it).
We quickly went from this being some kind of "experimental phone" to it being an HTC-built unit called Nexus One running Android 2.1 on a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon chip (this much seems certain) with an OLED screen (less certain). Was Google planning on selling this phone, and if so how? First we heard that Google was going to sell ite directly, unlocked, for an unspecified but subsidized (by Google) price. That caused a stir. Both Ars Technica and VentureBeat ran articles on how having such a major player as Google selling subsidized, unlocked phones could shake up the cell phone industry.
Then we got a date: January 5th, 2010 from Reuters. But Reuters says there are two versions of the phone. One unlocked and sold by Google, and another that comes with a two year T-Mobile contract. Android & Me says the price will be $199, but that's through an anonymous tipster and no one else seems to have any word on pricing. And that tipster seemed to indicate $199 for the unlocked version; that sounds too good to be true, honestly.
The FCC has pretty much confirmed the existence of the phone, as outlined at Phandroid. But that doesn't mean Google is set to sell millions of the things; it could still be a small run device designed for developers.
So what does this all mean? Chaos, confusion, and most of all, excitement. January 5th is just three weeks away. CNET's Tom Krazit wrote a great article (Google ponders risky Android solo act) on the sticky situation that Google has gotten itself into.