Google Phone Is Coming to Verizon

During a press conference at its headquarters earlier today, Google unveiled the Nexus One.
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (TheStreet) -- As promised, Google (GOOG) - Get Report introduced the Nexus One today, or what it calls the next step in mobile phones. And in a surprise move, Google named No.1 telco Verizon (VZ) - Get Report as one of its future service partners.

In October,

TheStreet

was the first to report that

Google was coming out with its own phone.

The

Nexus One

will be available through Verizon sometime this spring for $179 at Google's new online store. The phone is also available today via the site and can be used with T-Mobile's service. Unlocked

Nexus One

phones without a service plan are priced at $529.

Google executives spent the early portion of the press event thanking partners like

HTC

,

Samsung

and

Motorola

(MOT)

-- companies that have helped develop phones on the Android operating system. The gesture was somewhat of an awkward acknowledgement that Google is aware that it's encroaching on the phone makers' turf with its own phone.

The

Nexus One

runs on

Qualcomm's

(QCOM) - Get Report

SnapDragon one-gigahertz processor, a faster chip than what powers the current crop of smartphones including

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhone and

Palm's

(PALM)

Pre. The phone also has a 3.7-inch LED touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera.

"The Nexus One is an exemplar of what's possible with Android," Google executives said during the Web cast of the press event, adding that the phone was part of an emerging category it calls "superphones."

The phone runs on the most advanced Android software, called version 2.1, and features five home screens for users to customize and flip through along with an animated wall paper.

These customization features are intended to highlight the more restricted home screens on phones like Apple's iPhone.

One new feature is voice recognition-to-text. Google demonstrated the service, which can transcribe spoken words into a typed message, allowing for more hands-free use. Until now, Google has used this technology in its navigation application to search for locations and directions. At the event, Google showed how the voice recognition works by summoning an image of Mount Fuji via its Google Earth app, then composed a text message.

Google will also sell the

Nexus One

for Vodafone customers in Europe later this spring and promised that it will name other telco partners in the months to come.

-- Reported by Scott Moritz in New York