Google waggles free* Android phones at Americans
* 2-year wireless and small piece of your soul required
Google is offering Americans a free Nexus S Android phone from its rather popular homepage.
The offer lasts through the end of today (August 3). And you must agree to a two year wireless contract with an American wireless carrier. And you must agree to share yourself with Google.
The Nexus S is an Android phone whose software is designed solely by Google. Google calls it a "pure Google experience". It's the first Android phone to include an NFC (near field communications) chip that allows for wireless payments through the Google Wallet service.
It would appear that Google is trying to win a few more Android converts before the arrival of the next Apple iPhone, whose touchdown is rumored for next month.
The free handset is offered through the US retailer Best Buy, and it can be used with networks from three of the four big American carriers: Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
The Nexus S runs Gingerbread, the latest incarnation of Android for phones, atop a 1Ghz Hummingbird processor, 16GB of internal memory, and a dedicated GPU. Its contoured display measures 4-inches across the diagonal, and it offers both rear- and front-facing cameras. ®
Once again, Google sets off scammer sense
First the "your computer appears to be infected" message, now "get something free, really, trust us."
Only crap phones are free with contract. A decent smartphone that retails for ~$500 would probably be around $150 with a 2-year contract.
Contract != free
"In the UK this phone is free (eg. with Vodafone) if you get a 24 month, £36 contract. "
So you spend £864 and you get a "free phone". That's the point I'm making. It's not free. At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, providers do this to prevent churn and to lock you into a higher priced contract which I doubt very many people make full use of.
If providers were compelled to sell phones on an as-is basis, possibly SIM free there would be vastly more transparency in the way they operate and do business. They might actually have to compete with each other harder for one thing.