The Google Phone has graduated from rumor to a Twittered thing of beauty, with the likely name Nexus One. This “Google Phone” is also being tested by the company’s staff.

Now it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room: the very real and very successful iPhone (iPhone).

The Nexus One may come with a backer capable of stealing the thunder from popular Android (Android) devices like the Motorola Droid, but can it stand tall against the iPhone?

Of course, right now any guess one way or the other would be pure speculation. So, instead, let’s take a look at what we know about the Nexus One to date and then analyze what it would need to go head-to-head with Apple’s hot commodity.

The Google Name: Since we’ve yet to actually see or touch the Nexus One, we can’t really know whether or not it will be a game changer in the mobile space. We can presume, however, that a phone with Google’s official backing and design would certainly be greeted with an instant fan base. Much like Apple, Google has its own huge pool of impassioned fans who could be easily converted into buyers.

In fact, think of all the people drawn to Android devices, which are heavily marketed with Google in mind. Your everyday average mobile device buyer may not know what Android is, but they know Google, and they might be more likely to buy a device with Google’s name attached. All signs are pointing to the Nexus One being released by Google with their branding, so we can count this as an advantage in Google’s favor.

GSM Unlocked: An unlocked Nexus One would mean that users could insert a SIM card from their preferred wireless service provider. Essentially, buyers wouldn’t have to lock themselves into a contract with one carrier over another simply to get the new Google phone. They could even potentially switch carriers at any time, simply by changing their SIM card.

Since we now know that the Nexus One will be unlocked when it hits the market, we expect this to be a huge selling factor, especially for the tech savvy subset of the population who want the network of their choosing.

Given the very ostensible issues of AT&T’s network in San Francisco and New York, a Google phone that is carrier independent could be a dream come true.

Price Point: Sure, it exists, but how much will the Nexus One cost? Right now there’s no information available on the actual cost. The iPhone continues to sell exceptionally well because AT&T subsidizes about half of the actual price tag, making it a cost-friendly device for web and app-hungry mobile users.

Even though buyers have to sign a contract with AT&T, they also get arguably the best smartphone on the market for $199 or $299 depending on storage capacity. It’s hard to compete with those prices, especially in an economic climate that is still in recovery mode.

Even with a name like Google behind it, the Nexus One will be difficult to sell in mass quantities if Google can’t match the subsidized pricing of Apple’s iPhone.

App Advantage: If you watch television then you’ve probably noticed that Apple’s primary marketing technique for the iPhone is highlighting the usefulness of their apps. In fact, now that they have well over 100,000 apps, their slogan, “there’s an app for that” rings true.

Google’s Android Market, which does sport a number of nifty apps, with some like Google Goggles being Android-only, is far behind in the application game with just 12,000 apps. Even if Google had the same repository of apps, they currently make it difficult for Android device owners to find and discover new applications.

Apple has clearly mastered the application experience, with even iTunes getting a makeover, and Google will need to drastically overall the Android Market (Android Market) experience to stay competitive.