The so-called 'Google phone', the Nexus One, was launched earlier today: and it's good news for folks in Hong Kong, but not for us here in mainland China.
The Nexus One (actually built by Taiwanese manufacturer, HTC) is initially available only in four regions - the U.S., U.K., Singapore, and Hong Kong - as either an unlocked or contract-based phone, via Google's own online store. No word yet of how soon other countries will get the slim and powerful Android phone.
If China's battle with Apple over the iPhone are anything to go by, it might well take a year or two to get the Nexus One (or whichever is next in Google's planned series of devices) on a 3G contract with either China Mobile or China Unicom in mainland China. Since China Mobile is already preoccupied with its Android spin-off OPhone series, and China Unicom is settling into life as the exclusive iPhone carrier, Google has no other choice of mobile telco partner here, save for the land-line telco China Telecom which is slowly getting into the mobile business.
Anyway, the unlocked Nexus One will surely appear as a 'grey-import' on shelves in tech malls across China very soon; possibly by the end of the month. I'm already seeing the Motorola Milestone here in China for 4800 RMB (now USD 700), which matches the price on Amazon.com for the same phone.
Any mainland Chinese tech enthusiasts wanting to get a grey-import will likely have an unlocked device from Hong Kong. How much would it cost? Well, add the phone cost to the country-specific AC-adapter (it'll have to be a HK plug, not a mainland version) and shipping costs, and throw in a slice of profit for the importers, and a Nexus One will likely cost about 4500 RMB. If you can get a friend to carry one back for you from HK, then it'd only cost 3900 RMB, tops.