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Google's Nexus One, a Steal At $49 Unlocked? 311

gjt writes "I initially posted a piece ragging on the Nexus One. But then a commenter pointed out a problem with my initial logic, and after doing some math I concluded that the $529 unlocked/unsubsidized Google Nexus One gPhone is much cheaper than it appears to be. In fact it's only $49 over two years — and that's unlocked! Google likes to say that the Nexus One represents 'Our new approach to buying a mobile phone.' But it actually seems as though T-Mobile deserves most of the credit by providing a $20/month discount to customers who purchase an unsubsidized phone, a fact that didn't seem to get much attention when T-Mobile created the plan last October."
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Google's Nexus One, a Steal At $49 Unlocked?

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  • Oh god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @10:47PM (#31049844) Journal

    So, the real cost of an unlimited everything plan is $99.99/mo for subsidized phone buyers. Compare that to the $79.99/mo plan for unsubsidized buyers and that’s a $20/mo savings. Over two years, that’s a whopping $480 savings.

    So, $529 – $480 yields a final purchase price of just $49!

    Except that the phone is still $529! You're just buying the most expensive package available and think you're saving money, which makes no sense.

    Everything in Europe has been traditionally unlocked and unsubsidized phones. You buy the phone and then you get a subscription from your favorite operator. They have added the subsidized option but almost no one buys his/her phone like that. It's just stupid, which the article writer seems to have "discovered" here.

  • Re:Oh god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @10:52PM (#31049872)
    Married men understand the principal better. They are constantly saving money, thanks to their wives buying things they don't need and won't wear at 20% off.
  • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:08PM (#31049942) Journal
    the most interesting: []

    So, Google/HTC could have very easily made this one phone model compatible with not only T-Mobile and AT&T, but pretty much any 3GSM network worldwide if they only included the right combination of power amplifiers. According to iSuppli’s teardown of the Nexus One, [] the four small power amplifiers that are in the Nexus One only account for $2.20 in manufacturing costs. $2.20! How much more could a different combination of power amplifiers have cost? Maybe another $2 (at most)?!

    It just sounds like a deliberate decision to aid the wireless carrier oligopoly. Given that we’ve seen HTC’s FCC documents to introduce an AT&T oriented version of the Nexus One, you’d think that overall engineering, manufacturing, warehousing, and sales expenses would be lowered enough by offering a single model that could replace two.

    The deliberate lack of network compatibility is simply bewildering.

    What was that about not being evil again?

  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:27PM (#31050056)

    In other news, in the real world, adding chips to a design doesn't just cost component + assembly costs. It also increases the size of the device, and possibly the power consumption (though these can probably be put into a low enough power mode that it doesn't matter).

    Making the device larger and heavier isn't something that's done lightly. Sure, this would only add a little bit, but *any* individual feature only adds a little bit. You have to draw a line somewhere.

    That said, I'd like it better if it supported more networks, too...

  • by seamonkey420 ( 1570909 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:43PM (#31050138)
    the other phones that tmobile offer do not come close to the power the nexus one has. there's a reason why i don't own a mytouch or cliq. too slow of a cpu for AR based apps.

    if people really were looking to save money, they'd:

    1. call tmobile and get the tzone's $5.99 plan (some social hacking is involved since they claim it does not exist but it does.. you just gotta push).
    2. buy the phone unlocked
    3. have an unlimited data plan that works on an unlocked iPhone, Blackberry and any Android phone

  • Re:Oh god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:55PM (#31050202)

    Speak for yourself.

    In Germany, almost everybody bought subsidized phones until maybe 1-2 years ago. But you always had the option to buy a unsubsidized phone. Which still was unlocked. (I have yet so see a single locked phone or offer in Germany.)

    Luckily, nowadays, the prepaid options available are so great (e.h. blau), that there is no point in buying a subsidized one with a plan, unless you need one of those flat-rate deals where you pay nothing to call others in the same net (usually BASE & re-branded clones of it, or a local dealer like Alice).

    And with even the “candybar” Nokia 5800 costing only than 250€, it’s possible to buy a phone just like that.

    By the way: Wouldn’t you get a N900 for $529? With keyboard, Debian Linux / Maemo, etc?

  • by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @12:59AM (#31050462)
    Aren't you guys tired of reading all the time the same big-brother phone-add "news" on slashdot? Since when this site started covering a 4 months old price as a news? What exactly do we learn here? Are moderators sold to google? Aren't the adds on google itself enough? If this was mobile phone dot com why not, but I (and I believe, the vast majority of readers here) are reading to learn about new stuffs in the IT world.
    I'm getting sick of so much promotion for a device that doesn't deserves it and that is taking so much space and time on the web.
  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @01:22AM (#31050582)

    I got one too and I love it. I'm not at all surprised about the low sales so far though, there's been no marketing. I'm guessing they wanted to start slow to work out the kinks and once it hits Verizon they'll probably step up the marketing and it will take off.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:31AM (#31050818)
    Geez, when you add it all up, doesn't it seem like a lot of money to you just for an opportunity to use the phone?
  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:57AM (#31050876)

    If you buy the phone for 529 you do not get on a contract. You simply pay a monthly fee and quit when you want to. There can be no ETF as nothing is subsidized.

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @03:08AM (#31050896)

    >Now, when there is a 3G 'smartphone', Android or not, that can handle both A&T and T-Mobile 3G, then locking becomes important again.

    The next version of the Android will support both of them and will support CDMA. I figure by then it'll be on a second hardware revision or at least a second or third radio firmware and be safe to buy.

    >EDGE sucks so bad you woild give the phone back.

    Funny how the first iphone was EDGE only. It sold pretty well. While I wouldnt wish EDGE on my worst enemy, its funny how many people dealt with its speed limitations.

  • by tangent3 ( 449222 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:21AM (#31051046)

    So subsidizing is basically T-mobile giving you a $350 loan where you pay back $20 per month for 24 months.
    If I'm not wrong the interest rate on this loan is 32.4% ?

  • Not $49, but $2449 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:53AM (#31051134)
    Shouldn't we calculate the price in the same way as iPhone prices are usually calculated?

    According to the FTA, he is paying $529 for the phone, plus $80 per month for an unlimited plan = $1920 over two years, total = $2449. That is the cost of the phone.
  • by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) <jonaskoelker&yahoo,com> on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:38AM (#31051228)

    Aren't you guys tired of reading all the time the same big-brother phone-ad "news" on slashdot?

    I'm not.

    I'm in fact really happy that there were good discussions about the Nokia N900 phone---otherwise I wouldn't have known about the existence of a smartphone which (supposedly) delivers exactly what I want: a pocket computer I can tinker with.

    Being told that the thing I've been wanting for ten years finally exists is something I'm actually happy about. Was Nokia involved behind the scenes? Were they trying to push their product? Why would I care---I want the product at the price it's offered at.

    Just like the other day where I was shopping for a scarf. The sales clerk notified me they had socks for sale. I tried a pair on, liked it, found the price reasonable, and I needed more socks, so I bought some. Yes, he applied a sales technique on me, and it worked. So what? His pitch didn't artificially inflate my need for socks, it told me "you can get what you want, and here's how: [...]".

    And a while back I was looking for some stickers for my Rubik's cube. One of Google's advertisers had exactly what I wanted, at a price I liked.

    Advertisements aren't that bad. It's just that 99% give all the good ones a bad name ;-)

    That is to say: yeah, I see a lot of ads I'd rather be without. But every once in a while, someone seeks me out wanting to sell me something, and it just so happens that I, before engaging with them, have a desire to buy what I then discover they sell.

    If I like the transaction, why shouldn't I like being brought in contact with the other side of it?

    And hey, if you don't like the headlines, you don't have to read the summary. And if you don't like the summary, you don't have to read the discussion. And you never have to read the article (see, I'm not new here).

  • by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @07:00AM (#31051512)

    "Not only do consumers prefer to pay later"

    Says who? I always pay now instead of later so that I can avoid any debts that I may not be able to pay off. Paying later is what got us into the whole economical crisis in the first place.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @07:52AM (#31051686)

    Now, that $480 savings is $130 more than the $350 savings you get by selecting the $179 subsidized purchase option.

    So, when you think about it, the $20/mo discount to unsubsidized phone buyers is effectively a rebate against the up front cost of the phone.

    Good Grid! Does this guy actually think I am going to try to follow this spaghetti of weird math? "If you think about it, subtracting THIS amount if you get THAT option is almost like you could think of it as though you were saving THIS much beyond the discount with THIS OTHER option..."

    Give me an effin' break!

    Here is a hint for the author of TFA: when comparing costs, you don't need to subract ANYTHING. All you do is add.

    Show me a simple chart:

    Phone A with plan A costs THIS MUCH over two years. (Upfront cost + monthly charge over 2 years = total. No need to get any fancier.)

    Phone B with plan A costs THIS MUCH over two years.

    Phone A with plan B costs THIS MUCH over two years.

    Phone B with plan B costs THIS MUCH over two years.

    And so on. That's all it takes. I don't need to subract anything from anything and I don't need to "think of it as though" I were saving anything. I can just look at the damned chart and see what everything costs.

    Jesus. Is this guy some kind of professional writer? Can I have his job?

  • by okmijnuhb ( 575581 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @08:25AM (#31051804)
    This article is symptomatic of the mobile phone business greed.
    The pricing plans are so convoluted, someone claiming to be an expert cannot even get the math right.
  • Re:Crock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @10:14AM (#31052176)

    $49 as in "$529 + $1680 is only $2160 +$49."

    That's not quite $49, and not even getting into the issue of NPV (net present value).

    If your bank is paying 0.4% apr like mine, NPV is pretty flat these days.

  • by newdsfornerds ( 899401 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @10:44AM (#31052326) Journal
    You're suggesting that women seek money from a relationship. Actually, women seek security* in a relationship.

    * Security is a fancy word for "money."
  • by mikedep333 ( 1432269 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @11:46AM (#31052652)
    This is important: Don't forget that along with that $20/month extra that you pay with a subsidized version, you also have to pay roughly $4 more in taxes and fees. Most Americans won't have to do anything like that with the Nexus One itself.
    Do the Math: $529 retail price - (24 months * (20 dollars/mmonth + $4 taxes&feees/month))
    The end result is that the unlocked Nexus One is a steal at -47 USD!
    BTW, you can do something similar with AT&T smartphones. I bought an unlocked Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for $270 (you can get it for a lot less often now.) I only have to pay $15/month (before taxes and fees) on a data plan, rather than $30 like all phones purchased from AT&T require (presumably when the phone is purchased at a subsidized price.)
    So the result is that instead of paying roughly $100 for my phone, I pay $270 retail price - (24 months * (15 dollars/month + $3 taxes&fees/month)). This equals -162 USD!

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner