Google Nexus One sees T-Mobile price cut

A small segment of early adopters will see a $100 refund as Google and T-Mobile extend full discounts to more people.

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    Google CEO Eric Schmidt takes a photo of President Barack Obama with a Google Nexus One smart phone during the House Democratic Caucus retreat at the US Capitol on Thursday in Washington.
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As if the iPhone weren't enough of a lesson.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is reason number 6,234 why being an early adopter isn't a good idea.

As we wrote earlier this month, the pricing structure for Google's first phone left us scratching our heads – new T-Mobile customers who signed up for a two-year contract got the otherwise-$529 phone at a subsidized $179. Current T-Mobile customers who were adding a data plan could upgrade their phones to the Nexus One for $279. But those who were upgrading to the Google phone with an existing data plan were initially charged an extra hundred bucks – $379.

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On Thursday, Google and T-Mobile rolled back that last caveat, announcing that all upgrade-eligible T-Mobile customers could take advantage of the deeper discount. Current eligibility rules are here. Google's statement follows:

Previously there were two price points for those fully eligible for T-Mobile upgrades. Those without data plans were paying $279 for the Nexus One, and those with data plans were being charged $379. We worked with T-Mobile and are now able to offer the higher upgrade discount to all existing fully eligible T-Mobile subscribers. This price is now $279. Refunds will be granted to all eligible subscribers who previously purchased the Nexus One at $379. This doesn't affect any eligible customers who bought the phone for $279.

This sort of do-over is nothing new. Many no-doubt remember the step back Apple took when it reduced the price of the first iPhone after what some said was too quick an interval. It ended up doing exactly as Google has – backpedaling and issuing some customers a $100 mea culpa. The same kind of outrage cropped up when Apple announced upgrade pricing for the iPhone 3GS. Some called the scheme, which charged some current iPhone owners as much as $699 to upgrade, "100 percent ridiculous."

But could Google's back-down be based on something more than a few grumpy customers? The Nexus One, riding a long line of positive buzz – from leaks to first impressions and a raft of positive reviews – saw things turn sour last week. Turns out, its revolutionary sales model and new business weren't impressing customers frustrated with trying to get support. Pair that with wet-blanket Nexus One sales figures and the positive buzz Verizon is seeing for dropping the price of some of its unlimited voice and data plans, and it's not hard to imagine Google scrambling.

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