Google, Apple steps up smart phone rivalry

The rivalry between Google Inc. and Apple Inc. has heated up as the two Silicon Valley giants are foraying deeper into each other’s strongholds to win control of the increasingly important smart phone platform.
Google on Tuesday officially unveiled Nexus One, the first smart phone designed and sold by the company, representing its strongest challenge against Apple’s popular iPhone.
The new handset is an exemplar of what’s possible with mobile phones on Google’s Android operating system, Google executives said, claiming that it belongs in the emerging class of devices which the company calls “super phones.”
Nexus One is the first phone to be sold directly to consumers through Google’s new web store, seen by the company as a new model for consumers to buy a mobile phone.
Through the web store hosted by Google, consumers can buy Nexus One without service or purchase the phone with service from one of Google’s operator partners.
Nexus One is initially available from the Google web store in the United States without service for 529 U.S. dollars or starting at 179 dollars with a two-year contract from T-Mobile USA, Google said.
Since the first smart phone running the Android platform debuted more than a year ago, 20 devices with 59 operators have gone on sale in 48 countries and regions, according to numbers released by Google.
Also as a reflection of the increasingly fierce competition between the two companies in the mobile arena, U.S. mobile advertising company Quattro Wireless on Tuesday confirmed that it has been bought by Apple for an undisclosed amount.  [PIA/Xinhua]