Google Inc. on Tuesday took its much-awaited shot at the iPhone, but its Nexus One smart phone came up something short of a killer.
It did, however, impress reviewers and even some iPhone users enough to establish itself as a suitable rival.
Google's typically aggressive way of jumping into markets raised new issues for cell phone shoppers.
For example, consumers are used to visiting a mobile service provider and then looking into which handsets it offers.
Google has turned that experience around.
It is selling the Nexus One itself, online at www.google .com/phone. And it plans to sell other phones that use its Android operating system the same way.
Google, already the dominant search engine online, trumpeted Tuesday how it had created a new channel for buying phones. Visit Google's site, pick a device and then get hooked up with a phone company.
The secondary news from the company was the launch of the Nexus One.
For now at least, the site is the only place to get a Nexus One. It is available at $179 with a two-year contract through T-Mobile.
Sometime this spring, Google’s new phone will be available the same way for customers of Verizon Communications Inc. in the U.S. and Vodaphone in Europe.
Google did not make the Nexus One, but designed the machine and its features, working with manufacturer HTC Corp. in Taiwan.
Most of the phone's features had leaked out ahead of Tuesday's unveiling so there were not many surprises. In size, the Nexus One is a bit thicker than a pencil and weighs 3 cents more than a roll of pennies.
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