Google Nexus One, AT&T get hitched

Google Nexus One joins AT&T. Just don't ask about the price tag.

The Google Nexus One, pictured here, is now available on the same network as the Apple iPhone.

And the Apple-Google battle rages onwards. On Tuesday, Google rolled out an AT&T-compatible Nexus One, a move that puts the top-of-the-line Android smartphone on the same network as the top-selling Apple iPhone. According to a handful of early reports from around the blogosphere, the AT&T version is identical to the T-Mobile-powered Nexus One that garnered such rave reviews back in January.

Well, not totally identical. Although T-Mobile subsidized the Nexus One handset, AT&T users will have to fork over a hefty $529 to get their hands on an unlocked Nexus One. Mull that over for a second: 529 bucks. That's five times as much as it would cost you to buy an Apple iPhone 3G with a two-year plan from AT&T. And that's more than twice as much as it would cost you to get an AT&T-powered Apple iPhone 3G S.

As a matter of fact, for $529, you could get a brand new Apple iPad.

Still, the arrival of the Nexus One on AT&T is a major event. (The Nexus One is also available on Rogers Wireless in Canada.) As we wrote earlier today, Apple and Google are involved in a major tussle over the mobile phone market. The companies see things very differently: Google wants openness and a web-centric strategy, while Apple has worked to keep the iTunes and iPad/iPod/iPhone platform under tight control.

Yesterday, new Google hire Tim Bray slammed Apple for its approach to the mobile market. "The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what," Bray wrote, referring to Apple's move to censor some adult-themed iTunes applications.

"It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger," Bray added. What do you think? Would you pay upwards of $500 for an AT&T-powered Nexus One? Drop us a line in the comments section.

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