Nexus One priced; full launch on Jan. 5th?

Late yesterday Gizmodo leaked pricing and some other info about the Nexus One (aka Google Phone). Nothing is certain until Google makes an official announcement, but the prices seem plausible: $180 with a two-year T-Mobile contract, and $530 for an unlocked phone and no contract. The single rate plan being offered by T-Mobile for this phone is $80/month, which again, is in line with other similar devices/carriers.

Apparently it will only be available directly through Google, which seems odd. Are they trying to compete or not? If they are, putting it in T-Mobile stores and big box retailers that handle multiple carriers seems to make a lot more sense than only selling it directly. Google seems oddly tentative with this whole program (granted, this is all assuming the rumors are true). Is keeping the phone out of retail stores an attempt to placate other members of the Open Handset Alliance? The "Google will sell the Nexus One via invite-only" rumor seems to have withered on the vine; this is now sounding like a full-out launch.

Assuming the rumors are true and that Google starts accepting orders on January 5th, it'll be interesting to see what, if any, reaction Verizon has to the Nexus One. Will they keep pushing Android phones or will they fall back on other systems? This has to feel like a stab in the back to Verizon. All that marketing muscle put behind the Droid and then two months later their Android BFF Google turns around and releases a better (from all reports I've read) phone for a little bit less money, on a different carrier. That has to sting. I can say from personal experience that it stings a bit being a Droid owner with 23 months left on a 24 month contract (not that I'm unhappy with the Droid, but if early reports are to be believed the Nexus One is a much faster handset). Remember Google's "You can make money without doing evil." philosophy? I won't go so far as to call this plan "evil" but it's definitely leaning in that direction.

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