updated 08:20 am EDT, Mon April 26, 2010
Google and Vodafone use free Nexus One as lure
Vodafone's UK division today began taking pre-orders for the Nexus One. The Android phone is now slated to ship April 30th and, notably, will be available for free: those who need a £35 ($54) or higher monthly plan can skip paying for the phone itself. A £25 ($39) plan is also available on a two-year contract, but the price of the Nexus One hasn't been mentioned.
The Vodafone edition has a 4GB microSD card packed in and has access to 1GB of 3G data per month as well as 1GB at BT's Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots. Its 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen, GPS and Wi-Fi remain in place.
In making the launch, Google is officially bringing the Nexus One to Europe for the first time and is notably breaking with its previous policies: the phone has previously never been free and has only been available directly through Google's website. While free smartphones are more common in Europe, Vodafone's pricing is more aggressive than for the iPhone 3GS, which needs a minimum £45 ($70) per month plan to be given away. Vodafone is also unique among Nexus One carriers in selling the phone directly through its own page and suggests Google is willing to break its previous rule to reach more customers than it has in the past.
Android's second-largest market has usually been Europe and has been thanks to other HTC-made phones, particularly the Magic but also the newer Desire and Legend.