One factor that isn't clear, Gold said, is how much Google will continue to sell Android phones with U.S. carrier partners, which sell them at $200 or more below the cost of selling them unlocked, but also require a two-year service contract. Google recently put the Galaxy Nexus, considered a pure Android device, on sale on its Web site for $399, double what carriers charge.
Verizon Wireless and Sprint sell the Galaxy Nexus for $200 and a two-year contract, but Verizon doesn't support Google Wallet on the device.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, said the success of Google's Nexus concept depends on how smartphone makers respond. Some of the phone manufacturers may still add in new features and services to the phones other than Android, while others could release phones with Android-only code earlier to market.
"Overall, this is a positive for the Android platform, which has had more than its fair share of issues coming to market," Enderle added.
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