Android chief Andy Rubin just posted a blog to announce that Google would begin selling the unlocked Galaxy Nexus to customers in the United States starting today. Mr. Rubin wrote, “We’ve come a long way since the first Android devices started hitting shelves three and a half years ago and since the launch of the first Nexus device.”
Google attempted to sell the HTC Nexus One phone to consumers back in 2010 (I bought one), but that didn’t go so well as the top 3 carriers rejected it and Google was forced to shut the store down later that year. When the store closed, Andy Rubin said, “The global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters.”
One of the main complaints with Google’s online store two years ago was the lack of customer support. People who purchased the Nexus One back in 2010 did not know if they should contact Google, HTC, or T-Mobile when they had problems with the device.
This time around, things should be different. Rubin said, “We’ve implemented new customer support services to improve the purchasing experience on Google Play. We’ve taken all of this into consideration in designing Devices on Google Play.”
Google is only selling the device in the US today, but it will be expanding to additional markets. “We hope to bring it to more countries soon.”
Since the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus ships unlocked, without a carrier commitment or contract, that means users can use it on the GSM carrier of your choice. The device supports both AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ networks, with speeds up to 21 Mbps.
A lot of customers who purchased the fake Nexus from Verizon were disappointed with the lack of software updates, but that shouldn’t be a problem with Google’s version. They will control all of the software upgrades and won’t need the carrier’s approval before pushing out new updates.
I’ve been a little critical of the Galaxy Nexus, but it remains one of my favorite Android phones. There were definitely some bugs at launch, but many of them have been resolved with the recent Android 4.0.4 upgrade. At a price of only $399, this is the best deal that US consumers can find on an unlocked Android phone.