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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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  • How does this work? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:09PM (#31049950) Homepage Journal
    To me the math is simple, unless T-Mobile and Android is engaging in false advertising. The price is $179 which seems high for an HTC smart phone. Monthly is about $85. Two year cost is around $2200.

    On the other hand one can buy the phone and the same two year cost will be about the same. This would be the reasonable thing to do as you would not incur the wrath of the Google termination fee.

    I don't even know why anyone would by a Nexus 1, since one can get a no contract phone from T-Mobile for much less and have the same fee.

    I wonder if Google is setting such high prices to keep the cell companies happy, or if they are actually so inefficient that they can't market the phone for less.

  • boo, advertising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:25PM (#31050036) Homepage Journal
    Google getting desperate [] and subtly spamming slashdot now? Hey, perhaps people just don't want a phone made by the "maybeyou shouldn't be doing it in the first place" guys?
  • by seamonkey420 ( 1570909 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:34PM (#31050092)
    i read a comment over at gizmodo that actually did seem to make sense.

    google's release of the Nexus One is more of a raising the bar for other android hardware makers and in turn they didn't expect to sell tons of units or set the world on fire. rather, they are making other android handset makers step up their game to compete. plus, they can also test their device on a smaller carrier prior to unleashing it into the large boys like verizon and at&t.

    just my .02 like always (cuz you know with the interwebz, we all have our .02, hehe).

    oh yea, the fewer people that have the Nexus One, the better for me. makes me feel special. j/k.. i think we'll see the nexus one take off when it hits a bigger carrier like verizon later this spring.

  • by gaelfx ( 1111115 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:04AM (#31050726)
    No, the real monster in the closet here is that the savings are still tied to buying a 2 year contract. So the phone is unlocked, but you're still stuck with crummy cell phone contracts in order to avoid dumping a bunch of money into the phone, which is what the contract will cause you to do in the long run. This is just sleight of hand taken to a new level.
  • Re:Oh god (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Teun ( 17872 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @06:56AM (#31051498) Homepage
    When you buy a phone including a plan it'll no doubt be locked, but it's real easy to get the same phone without a plan.

    Especially in the larger cities it's easy to find a small shop that for a small fee will unlock just about any phone and there's nothing illegal about it.

    Because I feel it's giving me more software freedom than a Droid I'm looking at a Nokia N900 right now, not as a phone but purely as a mini computer with the option of VOIP, it's all over the place, unlocked and for about €550.00.

  • Re:It's fuzzy math (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @08:29AM (#31051816) Homepage

    Seriously, I never understood the whole "you have to spend money to save money" mentality that so many people have.

    I understand it this way: If you buy too cheap, you may have to buy the same thing of kind again in the future when it breaks, or turns out to be not good enough for your needs.

    For instance, my recent experiences with that:

    1. I bought a high end point and shoot camera before going on vacation. Took me about 2 days to realize that it still wasn't good enough, and that I couldn't make it better by putting another lens on it, because they're not interchangeable. Now I have a DSLR and am much happier with the results. It's a midrange sort so it could be better still, but with a DSLR I have enough flexibility that I almost never happen to be in a situation that a better camera would make something significantly better. That was a waste of money on the P&S.

    2. Some time ago I bought a fairly high end phone... with a T9 keyboard. It was capable of fairly decent web browsing, and could run applications, but was utter horror to type anything with. I'd have been much better off with something with a real keyboard. I could have got that for $50 more. In hindsight that was a waste. Now I have a N900 and couldn't be happier.

    3. I tried VIA's MiniITX boards as a way of having a "cheap server". Turned out to be anything but, because it was horribly unreliable, so after months of fighting with it, it now sits in the closet.

    So, overall, buying too cheap often turns out expensive, when the cheap product isn't good enough and has to be replaced. Then you end up buying two things instead of one.

  • Re:Oh god (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @08:49AM (#31051866)

    I got it slightly wrong, the unsubsidized version doesn't come with a contract, it is just 24 monthly payments.

    Apparently T-Mobile isn't real worried about staying in the consumer lending business.

  • Re:Oh god (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @09:36AM (#31052016)

    I have prepaid, I have excellent credit, and I do use my phone (though I suppose by a lot of people's standards it's barely using it). Over the course of 4 years, my highest monthly usage has been about 130 minutes and my lowest is about 25 minutes, so my monthly "bill" ranges from $2.50 to $13.00, with $4-6 being typical. My wife also has the same setup, and her typical usage is around $13-$15 a month. Our highest combined monthly usage over the 4 years was about $26/month total.

  • Re:Oh god (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @11:49AM (#31052666) Journal

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

    I would if I didn't mind carrying around a brick in my pocket all day. For that matter, for $529 I can get a decent 15" laptop. As-is, I'm very happy with my unlocked Nexus One. It's the only phone out there that's better than an iPhone, IMO. Of course, if you require a keyboard, the Motorola Droid is the way to go.

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