After Google closed the doors on its Nexus One retail venture, the critically acclaimed but financially underwhelming phone is being resurrected phoenix-style as an unlocked handset for direct sale to registered developers, according to the Android developers blog. Of course, the phone can be tied to a service provider after purchase, but this gives developers a chance to test and develop on a phone that ranks with the best of the Android handsets out of the box. Previously, the HTC G1 was the direct sale phone that was offered to developers. As the G1 slowly but steadily becomes obsolete, developers see this as very welcome news.
You will have to pay the price, however. The phone is being offered through Google for $529. The G1 was offered unlocked for $399. It will come pre-loaded with Android 2.1, but will get the OTA update to 2.2 once you turn on the phone.
The Nexus One was generally well-received by reviewers and stayed in demand partly due to timely upgrades from Google. When other manufacturers had to shoehorn new versions of the Android OS into their own proprietary software (i.e. Sense and Motoblur), Nexus One owners were able to receive updates immediately. There were a few different reasons why the phone didn’t perform financially as expected, but some of the stand-out reasons were lack of customer support, an awkward partnership with T-Mobile that made upgrading from an older phone a not-so-simple process, and competition from other best-in-class phones released in the same time frame. As Google struggle to keep alive the Nexus brand, it will be interesting to see if rumors about the Nexus Two will really pan out.