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TheStreet Open House

Google Exposes Apple's Overpriced Lock-Ins

Stocks in this article: AAPL GOOG MSFT T VZ S TMUS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What do you say when one restaurant charges $6 for a Coca-Cola, while the one next door charges $2? I call that a rip-off.

Lately, Google (GOOG) has exposed Apple (AAPL - Get Report) as the company charging you $6 for a Coke every step of the way. Let's count the ways:

1. Device storage.

When you buy an iPad or iPhone, you have to pay $100 extra to go from 16 gig storage to 32 gig. How much does Google charge for the same storage bump in their equivalent devices?

The Nexus 7 is $40 more for 32 gig vs. 16 gig. The Motorola X is $50 more for the same. In other words, Google is between 50% and 60% cheaper than Apple for the exact same thing.

2. LTE on the tablet.

Apple charges $130 extra for LTE on the iPad. Google charges $80 more. That's 38% less.

But wait, there's more!

Google's LTE version -- on the Nexus 7 - is a single SKU that enables you to switch between LTE on AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ)and T-Mobile (TMUS), simply by swapping your pre-paid SIM card. With Apple, if you buy an iPad on Verizon, you can only get LTE on Verizon, and so forth with a separate version for AT&T, etc.

You get the point - the iPad locks you to LTE on only one of the U.S. carriers.

3. Cell phone service pricing.

If you want a reasonable package from AT&T or Verizon, you pay $90 a month for voice, data and SMS. Same thing with Android.

You can get less expensive service with T-Mobile and Sprint (S), knocking off approximately $20 a month in comparisons that are not 100% oranges vs. oranges, but close enough. Same thing with Android.

So far, so good -- for Apple. But then we go to even lower tiers:

With Republic Wireless -- which works on Sprint -- you can get unlimited service for $19 a month. You have to buy an Android phone for $259 up-front. iPhone? No.

With FreedomPop -- which also works on Sprint -- you can get limited service for FREE per month. Just buy Android smartphone up-front. iPhone? No.

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