Mario Queiroz, Vice President of Product Management for Google, holds up the Nexus One smartphone running on the Google Android platform, the first mobile phone the internet company will sell directly to consumers, during a news conference at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California January 5, 2010. (Photo: Reuters)

Search engine giant Google unveiled the Nexus One on Tuesday, first leap into the smartphone market that has been dominated by its rival Apple for years.

US media says the phone goes head to head with Apple’s darling of the market, the iPhone, is sold only through a Web store operated by Google. Unlike the iPhone and most other current smartphones, is available either with or without mobile service.

“We are very happy to be able to offer a choice,” said Mario Queiroz, Google’s vice president of product management.

In the US T-Mobile is the initial service provider. Verizon in the United States and Vodafone in Europe will be coming on board later, and more operators are expected.

Unfortunately the phone will not be available in Malaysia. Instead Google selected Singapore as one of the first four places in the world where it first ‘own-brand’ mobile phone will be available.

Currently, the phone is sold only through Google’s very first US web store at google.com/phone. Hong Kong and Great Britain are the other two locations where the phone will be shipped first.

To get Nexus One Asian consumers would be paying at least US$577.31 (RM1,956), which comprises US$529 for the device, US$19.99 for the power adapter and US$28.32 for shipping through DHL, according to Singapore’s Straits Times.