The Galaxy Nexus started at $299 with a 2 year contract and a pretty pricey monthly plan, around 7 months ago. Google announced a significant price drop to the unlocked GSM version a few months ago, and it went from something like $700 unlocked to only $399, which was great value for the money. Google has now dropped another $50 from the price, making it only $349, which is just $50 more than it was on a 2 year contract 7 months ago.
As far as unlocked phones go, the Galaxy Nexus is definitely the best and the cheapest one you can get right now, although in US you can only use it on AT&T and T-mobile’s networks. If you’re not from the US, then it should work on with every GSM carrier in the world. Of course, there are other better phones out there already, like the Galaxy S3 or the HTC One X, but those will cost you around twice as much, and they won’t be getting Android 4.1 as early as the Galaxy Nexus. It also remains to be seen if they will receive Android 5.0 or not this fall, and the Galaxy Nexus is guaranteed to get it, since it will only be a year since it’s initial release.
Why has Google continued to drop the price of the Galaxy Nexus? It’s probably part of their strategy to get stock Android in as many hands as possible. The Nexus 7 is yet another step in that direction, for a much smaller $199 price, and the 5 Nexus devices arriving this fall should push the stock Android experience into a lot more hands as well.
If Google would try to make every single Motorola phone a stock Android one, at least from 2013, that would be a huge deal, and it might actually be the tipping point for the other manufacturers to regularly release stock Android devices as well. But we’ll see. Google hasn’t indicated yet that this is their plan.
If you want to order yourself a Galaxy Nexus right now (in US), go to its Play Store page.