Can the Nexus One turn Google users into Android phone users?

Without Google and HTC, there would be no Android, plain and simple. But can these two companies, after establishing Android's presence in the mobile world, re-imagine the way that mobile devices are sold?

We're about to find out.

Google today officially launched the Nexus One, an HTC-made, Google-branded Android smartphone that sports a Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz processor. The blogosphere has been astir over the device since Google gave it out internally before the holidays, and many have invoked the trite "iPhone Killer" moniker we've heard applied to every touchscreen smartphone since 2007.

Indeed, even at Google's event today, that phrase was mentioned by an audience member in the Q&A session. But nothing will kill the iPhone, and frankly, nothing should. Instead, Google has taken to calling the Nexus One a "superphone," a silly name but a very strong concept.

"Nexus One is an exemplar of what's possible on mobile devices through Android -- when cool apps meet a fast, bright and connected computer that fits in your pocket. The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call "superphones." It's the first in what we expect to be a series of products which we will bring to market with our operator and hardware partners and sell through our online store," Mario Queiroz, Vice President of Product Management at Google wrote today.

The Nexus One's list of specs are impressive and rank it as one of the most powerful Android handsets to date. But the most important thing about the Nexus One is its availability on both T-Mobile and Verizon, making it the first multi-carrier Android phone in the United States.

This is where Google is taking control. Because there are so many users of Google 's services, and millions of subscribers to those two networks, the search giant will sell the Nexus One directly in its own Web Store, easily tying the two groups of users together.

"The goal of this new consumer channel is to provide an efficient way to connect Google's online users with selected Android devices. We also want to make the overall user experience simple: a simple purchasing process, simple service plans from operators, simple and worry-free delivery and start-up," Queiroz said today.

Today's launch of the Nexus One is not so much about the device. The Android platform is one of constantly improving specs, and every quarter there will be another new phone overpowering the phones from the last. Motorola, which manufactures the Droid and competes with HTC and the Nexus One, was even invited to speak at the launch event today, indicating that this is more about the platform than the device.

Today, it's about turning Google users into Android users.

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