Google makes Nexus One its official developer phone

Google has announced that its Nexus One smartphone will be its official phone for developers.

Android developers will now be able to purchase an unlocked Nexus One direct from Google for $529, which is what it was previously offering the phone for to normal customers. We’re not suggesting that developers aren’t normal.

Several weeks ago it received its final shipment of Nexus One phones from its partner HTC, stating that once the final batch is sold it will no longer offer it directly for sale. The device is still available through network carrier partners such as Vodafone and still receives full Google support, being the first Android phone to receive the 2.2 FroYo update. It will also be the first to receive the 3.0 update in October.

This may tempt developers, who will want an unlocked phone and immediate updates to the latest version of Android. Other Android phones, such as those by HTC and Motorola, incur significant delays in upgrading the OS due to UI overlays. Some networks also further delay updates while they add in company branding, which has raised the ire of many Vodafone customers recently.

The device, which launched in January, failed to catch on in the same way similar Android phones have, such as sister phone the HTC Desire. In May Google decided to stop selling it online, saying that people wanted to try it out before buying it, but it wasn’t long after that it announced it would no longer be offering the phone for sale directly.

While it may not have caught on commercially it received good reviews and sparked significant interest in developers working on the Android platform. Announcing it as the official dev phone will help offset the image created that it was a failed project.

Android developers will need to sign into their Android dev account and click “Development Phones” to be able to purchase a Nexus One direct from Google. 

“It’s a good choice both for people who want to build Android applications using either the SDK or the NDK, and those who want to experiment with modified versions of the Android platform,” said Tim Bray, Developer Advocate at Google.