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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On Google Nexus One Being Unlocked

Here in China you can get the iPhone 3GS unlocked, but in the US apparently (and in Germany too for the iPhone) the main model is still to lock the customer into buying a carrier contract along with the phone. Bad for customers, perhaps good for carriers, but now we have a new phone on the market... the Google phone aka Nexus One. ArsTechnica writes:

The real news at Google’s event this morning – news that could shake up the mobile industry just as thoroughly as the original iPhone announcement – wasn’t a phone at all, but a URL: An online storefront that, if successful, could knock one of the major pillars out the current, much-reviled US carrier model and result in faster, cheaper, more flexible service for mobile users. (...)

Google has confirmed that Nexus One, and all subsequent Google phones sold via the company’s online store, will be available unlocked for use on every participating carrier. (...) In addition to being unlocked, the phones will also have bundled plan options where the pricing and details are up to the carrier.

By offering a lineup of phones that is essentially carrier-independent (with the radio compatibility caveat), Google has separated the two previously interlocked parts of the phone/plan-buying experience – phone selection and carrier selection – and has done so in a way that threatens one of the most important enablers of carrier lock-in.

On the other hand, that Google store is geoblocking most countries in the world... we’ll have to see how this fares in other countries. Here’s hoping that business models which lock-in customers will go down over time, and be replaced by fairer models (like the one Google chose) competing on quality.

[Via Reddit.]


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