We started shipping Nexus phones more than two years ago to give you a pure Google experience and access to the latest Android updates. Today, we’ve started selling Galaxy Nexus (HSPA+) from a new Devices section in the Google Play web store, so you can quickly and easily purchase an unlocked version of the phone. We want to give you a place to purchase Nexus devices that work really well with your digital entertainment.
US only for now, but this is the first time Google has sold a device directly since the Nexus One. Hopefully this is a trend they intend to continue with future Nexus devices. If they are able to offer their phones unlocked and at a reasonable price from day one, I would not hesitate to purchase direct from Google again.
I wish we could buy all phones direct. I hate that the HTC one X is only available from Rogers.. Im on Telus and dont want to move to get that phone. Buying one outright is an option but im pretty sure on launch thats not always the easiest thing to do..
Personally the only reason I can see for buying a phone directly from Google is if your carrier doesn't carry it.
I bought a Nexus One and when I replaced it I went with a subsidized RAZR from Rogers. Since I am very unlikely to switch from Rogers (discounts, devil you know, etc) I might as well pocket the $400 subsidy since I don't get a discount if I buy a phone from Google.
If you're like me and prefer to be contract-free, or you want to upgrade and it's not time for an upgrade with your carrier, then this is great. Carriers tend to mark up devices in order to make the contract subsidy look more impressive, but Google doesn't seem to be doing that. They make their money on you using Google services, so they're happy to sell you devices at cost if they come with Google software.
I suspect this is also a prelude to them selling their rumoured Nexus tablet at a very low price.