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Sprint hangs up on Google's Nexus One

Sprint will not support Google's Nexus One strategy with subsidized pricing and a contract, leaving T-Mobile as the device's exclusive U.S. carrier.

Only one U.S. carrier plans to offer Google's Nexus One to its customers this year now that Sprint has confirmed plans to take a pass.

Google Nexus One
Sprint customers won't be able to buy Google's Nexus One. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

When it launched the Nexus One in January, Google said support from other carriers would arrive, but following the news that Verizon has changed its mind, Sprint told Gizmodo Monday that it has also reassessed its plans. Only loyal friend T-Mobile--the original Android launch partner--is supporting the phone with a two-year plan.

Google sells the Nexus One at its own Web site, and that's the exclusive distribution channel for the phone in the U.S. The idea for that site was to offer potential customers a lineup of Nexus phones with wireless plans from several carriers, breaking the chain of exclusive deals for cool phones enjoyed by many a carrier.

However, only T-Mobile fully supports the program with subsidized pricing attached to a two-year contract. Unlocked Nexus Ones that work on T-Mobile and AT&T's networks are available, but despite the fact that the long-term math on an unlocked phone can work out to their advantage, consumers still get sticker shock at unsubsidized pricing.

Sprint, like Verizon, is opting to direct its customers toward a different Android phone, in Sprint's case the HTC Evo 4G phone. A Sprint representative confirmed the decision to drop plans for the Nexus One but declined to comment on what caused those plans to unravel.

While Android momentum shows no signs of slowing down, the Nexus One--a phone designed to change the way carriers do business--is clearly not very popular with carriers.