Press and analysts who convened at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters for the Nexus One launch event earlier this week got a special treat after the show proceedings wrapped: a free, unlocked Nexus One GSM smartphone.
The Nexus One is an HTC-made smartphone fitted with Android 2.1 operating system, and loads of snazzy software features, such as the ability to enter text into email, Facebook, and other fields just by speaking.
The rest of the world cannot go to a store and but the Nexus One. Consumers must buy the phone from Google's Web store unlocked for $529, or pay $179 with a two-year service contract from T-Mobile.
This smartphone-as-a-service (call it the new SAAS) strategy is something of a new SAAS model for Google, though it follows models from Dell and Amazon.com.
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