In a brief blog post yesterday, Google (NYSE: GOOG ) said its Nexus One smartphone is now compatible with AT&T's (NYSE: T ) 3G network here and Rogers Communications Inc.'s (NYSE: RCI ) wireless network in Canada.
Don't read too much into that. AT&T isn't about to give store shelf space to the Nexus One as it does Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone. Would-be owners of the device hoping to hook up with the former Ms. Bell's network will have to buy directly from Google.
But that's a minor annoyance. What matters is that Google is creating the conditions for a head-to-head match-up between its signature Android phone and the iPhone. Mix in Motorola's (NYSE: MOT ) Backflip phone, which is also designed to work with AT&T's 3G network, and we've got all we'll need to measure Android's poaching power.
How will Nexus One fare against the iPhone here in the U.S.? Not well, I'm guessing. Early sales data was less-than-encouraging and we know that developers love the iPhone. They've created more than 150,000 apps for the device, which users consume in far greater volume than peers who use Android phones and Palm's (Nasdaq: PALM ) webOS-powered devices.
So while AT&T may enjoy its dalliance with Android, it has every reason to stay hitched to Apple and the iPhone. In this telecom triangle, Google's the odd company out.
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