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Google starts selling unlocked G1

Shipping in gold envelopes?

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Google has started selling an unlocked version of the G1, at $399 a pop, that can be used on any network anywhere in the world - though the search giant will skin you for another $200 in shipping if it gets the chance.

The handset, which Google terms the Android Dev Phone 1, comes completely unlocked - able to use any GSM SIM and run unsigned applications. It's aimed at developers living beyond the reach of T-Mobile, the only network subsidising the handset, though it may appeal to anyone who doesn't want to be beholden to a network operator.

Several people have managed to unlock the G1s supplied by T-Mobile, though the process is not for the faint-hearted, and the price is about what T-Mobile already charges for an unlocked handset in the USA - so not unreasonable even if you have to pay the $25 Android Marketplace registration fee first.

The shipping costs, however, are less reasonable unless you're in the US: Google apparently wants $130 to ship north of the border to Canada, and just over $200 for shipping to India. Even crossing the pond to Blighty will set you back $170 - for that price we'd expect Larry to bring the handset over personally on a silken cushion.

We've contacted Google to confirm these prices, ask about the kind of envelopes it's using, and will let you know when/if the company gets back to us. ®

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