Feb 03 AT 12:30 AM Taylor Wimberly 20 Comments

Google continues to give out free Nexii (Nexus One phones)

If you are a journalist or developer who has attended a Google Android event in the last year, chances are you got a free phone. Google started the practice at last year’s Google I/O when they handed out several thousand Google Ion phones. This was followed by the Sprint Developer conference where Google and Sprint provided 500 HTC Heros.

Earlier this year, Google gave all the members of the press a Nexus One when they announced the device at their headquarters. It was then revealed that Google would sponsor the Game Developer Conference and provide a Motorola Droid or Nexus one to all the developers who registered early.

Today we find out that Google is at it again by providing 70 Nexus One phones to attendees of the London Android Developer Lab.

Each Android phone costs several hundred dollars, so Google is really racking up a large bill in order to get these devices into the hands of as many geeks as possible. We are in no way complaining (Thanks for the Ions), but you can sense how much Google wants Android to succeed.

Wise strategy? Money well spent? What do you think?

Source: Twitter

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Anthony Domanico

    I think I want one. :)

  • http://www.everythinglegit.com Ramon

    Well ill be attending the Google I/O next week here in New York. I’m considering developing with Android so a new Nexus One would be perfect.

  • http://www.twitter.com/DrJeckyl Dr.Jeckyl

    Wish I could afford to go to I/O. They’re surely going to give one out there like with the Ion.

    This is a brilliant strategy by them though. Give out phones to people who otherwise might not have got one on their own.

  • http://Website s15274n

    It is a great strategy. They can afford it and the people getting them are either spreading the word of android, developing for android and informing the masses.

    Of course, steve jobs probably thinks free phones are evil.

  • http://Website Pramod

    Money well spent..

    Google has billions of $ sitting idle & rotting… few thousands of them spent on developers won’t burn a hole in their pocket!

    If people think it’s Google vs Apple/Nokia in the smartphone race; they are wrong as long as Nokia or Apple don’t enter search business… it’s a win-win for Google… all they care is that you are using their search engine be it on iPhone or symbian. So android is a backup plan for Google if Apple or Nokia decide to play dirty… apparently Apple already are (latitude & Voice for eg)… that’s why Google is putting some serious weight behind what was supposed to be a backup plan. More android’s adoption, less Google have to be dependent on other companies to reach customers. Nexus One is just another such move; it takes carriers out of the equation. Nexus One move is not complete till it is available on all major US carriers. Now you know what Google meant by “it’s a small but significant step in our overall smartphone strategy…” during Nexus launch. Nexus One is one of the most brilliant move Google has ever made. It takes manufacturers & carriers out of the equation. All that remain are, we the consumers, them the Google & their world class free services and frantic feedback-updates flying in between.

    Posted from my Hero :-)

  • http://terratime.net Sterling

    IMHO, I think it’s a waste of money when so many other areas of Android are crying out for improvement. Addressing a couple of the glaring Market problems would benefit many thousands of developers, rather than just the lucky few who happened to attend a single event.

    I’m quite bitter about this personally because I attended the previous 2 London ADLs. When this one came around, I decided not to attend – in large part because my Android apps aren’t earning enough to justify the expense. It’s clear now that I drew the short straw and picked the wrong one to skip… which just reinforces my point, that this is helping the few rather than the many.

    • http://Website Pramod

      We all know Google’s love/obsession with web. Web applications are where the future is. I understand why everybody is in awe of Apple app store & money it is making for developers and demand android market to stand up to it.

      However Google has different plans. Encouraging native apps is like taking a backward step in their ‘everything on web’ thinking/philosophy. If you watch closely, most of the apps on Apple’s app store & android market are trimmed down version of something that can be done on the web or are beautified version of popular websites.

      The only caveat is that today’s mobile browsers are still miles behind desktop browsers (eg. Google reader/Google docs on mobile are missing some key functionalities compared to when accessed through Chrome/Firefox). So app store are just temporary bridge until mobile browsers stand up to their desktop counterparts. So what should developers prefer? developing on the web as a platform so that all iPhones, symbian, Windows mobile, palm, android, *insert any phone with browser here* can access your app; no conditions asked & you get to keep every penny you make, OR keep tweaking your app for every platform out there, for every updates/versions of that platform & above all be at the mercy of some freak who decides whether your app is worthy of his customers attention.

      Just take androidandme.com for example. Their mobile version of the site is just as good as what a native ‘androidandme app’ would have been. They don’t have to worry about any of the above-mentioned problems. Just keep updating the site to take advantages of the new browser functionalities. So I think we’ll be better off (both developers & consumers) if we start demanding that Google make their android browser a beast to handle complex web apps rather than encouraging the traditional model of app development which is a pain to everyone involved. So all this talk of platform fragmentation will be mute with web as the platform.

      So don’t fall for this “we’ve millions of apps in our app store…” thing. With web apps Apple will lose control of everything (eg. Google voice is accessible as a web app on iPhone or any other smartphone for that matter and nobody can bitch about it now). Google has some smart people working for them after all!

      So if someone at Google is reading this, please improve android browser rather than Market please!

      • http://soft.antonspaans.com Anton Spaans

        We can’t be sure of Google’s intentions, but you are partially right, i think :-)

        >>”So app store are just temporary bridge until mobile browsers stand up to their desktop counterparts”<<

        However, a good Market Place will put devices in people's hands… right now. It may be a 'bridge', but it's the only bridge currently widely available.

        • http://Website Todd

          I would caution being so black or white about native Android app vs. pure web app ( “Only the Sith deal in absolutes” – Obi Wan Kanobi, Star Wars Episode III ).

          There’s a happy medium to be had; web pages that include hooks for Android phones. A primordial example is Oil Can


          I’d also mention the way desktop browsers extend web page function(s) with plug-ins and scripts.

          Android’s current browser is Chrome, and the desktop version only just recently got support for plug-ins and Grease Monkey support.

          Factoring in yesterday’s the arrival of FireFox for Android, rumors of Opera for Android, assume Android’s browser will mature to be more like desktop Chrome, and I hope you see that’s its too early to make it “all or nothing”.

      • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

        Well said. I got into the native vs web app argument just the other day so it’s good to see someone preaching my same angle.

  • http://Website Chris F

    I think it’s money well spent. Developers who do games will more likely develop for the phone and get games on the market that will sell, therefore giving google 30% of the revenue (or some ad supported revenue) plus they get back the money they make from those ppl using the web on their phone with ads more often. PLUS the type of ppl they are giving the phones to are great sellers of technology. They tell their friends about android as trusted tech individuals and influence their buying habits. AND they are more likely to adopt android as a platform in the future when buying future phones…all this ads up to make android a more adopted platform…and thus…money well spent…it will all come back…

    and then they can spend it on other aspects of android that need improvement Sterling :)

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel

    It’s wise, they can afford it. I want a phone but am still holding out. What do you guys think? Should I keep waiting? Being confident in your product is huge to selling it to others.

    • http://Website Quasar

      Once the Nexus One came out, my wait for a new phone was over. It has everything I wanted in an Android phone.

      1 GHz chip
      512 MB RAM
      large 3.7″ screen
      No physical keyboard
      Stock Android

      I hate custom UIs because not one of them has been updated to a newer version of Android yet on any of the older phones. However, Google is already sending out it’s first update to the N1 and can update it any time they want. It’s possible the N1 will be one of the first phones to see any future Android updates because it’s all controlled by Google.

  • http://www.twitter.com/slopezbustos Sergio

    I was on London’s Android Developer Lab. And yes, the gave us free Nexus One.
    Very nice event and very very nice gift.


  • http://Website Badly Drawn Rod

    Definitely money well spent. I was there, I got a free Nexus (when I finished falling out of my chair), and I’ve more than doubled my Android app efforts. There’s a huge difference between writing for the (slow) emulator and developing for a real phone.

    Not to mention the PR that Google gets from all those happy devs who are keen to demonstrate their new phones. It’s an impressive phone, so those who don’t have any type of Android phone are interested, and those who have older phones such as the G1 are keen to upgrade.

  • http://Website Ptterb

    Anyone confirmed for the US events yet? I registered for Mountain View (its next week) but I haven’t heard anything yet…..

    • http://dylandersen.me/ Dylan Andersen

      I just got my e-mail confirmation a few days ago. I’d imagine if you haven’t got one yet, maybe you weren’t selected.

  • http://Website Andrew

    ADL in Austin gave out Droids! I was more than happy to accept their generous gift! However, they didn’t seem so sure that they would be able to continue being so generous in the future.

  • http://Website MFK

    Ok I was just thinking about this, Since google is giving away free N1′s and driods what is the purpose of getting one of these free phones if you cant actually use them on the others network meaning you cant use a droid on T-mobile. All you can really do is just check out the features but why not just download the sdk with the emulator?

  • Manly Man

    Long live the Nexus one!