Google says it will cease selling its Nexus One Android smartphone through its Webstore and will instead work to make the Nexus One available through carrier partners' retail channels in the United States and other countries. The move is the ultimate sign that consumers are not ready to purchase phones without laying hands on them, analysts said. Google Jan. 5 began selling the Nexus One unlocked for $529 or for $179 for a two-year contract with No. 4 U.S. carrier T-Mobile.
Google will stop selling its Nexus One Android smartphone through its Webstore,
Android creator Andy Rubin said in a blog post May
Google will instead work to make the HTC-built
Nexus One, which runs the Android 2.1 operating system, available through
wireless carriers' retail channels, including online, in stores and over the
phone, in the United States
and other countries.
When the device finds sufficient success in retail stores, Google will turn
its Webstore into a showcase for Android phones.
"While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our
expectations, the Webstore has not," Rubin said.
"It's remained a niche channel for early
adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before
buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose
The move can't be considered anything but a sign of a failed experiment by a
company intent on disrupting the wireless operator market. It is also the
ultimate sign that consumers are not ready to purchase phones without laying
hands on them.
Google Jan. 5 began selling the Nexus One
unlocked for $529 or for $179 for a
two-year contract with No. 4 U.S. carrier T-Mobile. Verizon Wireless and
Vodafone were expected to offer the speedy device, which sports a 1 GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and multitouch access to rival Apple's hallowed
iPhone, in the spring. Sprint March 17 also pledged to sell the device.
Vodafone began selling the Nexus One
April 30 in its UK
stores, online and over the phone, but Verizon and then Sprint backed out in
the two weeks that followed.
Google directed consumers to buy
the HTC Droid Incredible
from Verizon, while Sprint said
it would focus on offering the HTC Evo 4G
phone. Both the Incredible and Evo 4G run Android
Offering the device solely through its Webstore was a move on Google's part
to disrupt the traditional model in which carriers sell mobile phones through
their stores and retailers such as Best Buy. Google tried to cut the middleman
out, but consumers proved reluctant to buy the phone sight unseen.
Google Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said April 15 the Nexus One was profitable,
but analysts believe the device
sold in the neighborhood of 250,000 to 300,000 units, nowhere near the more
than 1 million units Verizon shipped of the high-end Motorola Droid smartphone.
Unlike Verizon's $100 million marketing campaign to push the Droid, Google
didn't market the Nexus One, another failure. Banishing the Nexus One from its
Webstore reflects the biggest failure of all.
While some analysts said the Webstore was not a failure,
analyst Charles Golvin never cottoned to the idea, telling eWEEK May 12:
think [Google] had two purposes-to begin to alter the retail model for phones,
and to provide an exemplar of what Android could do. I don't think U.S.
consumers are ready for the retail change (though things are indeed changing
with the expanding prepaid market), and other devices like the Incredible are
eclipsing what the Nexus One can do."
Google's Rubin put this positive spin on the experience in his post:
"Innovation requires constant
iteration. We believe that the changes we're announcing today will help get
more phones to more people quicker, which is good for the entire Android
ecosystem: users, partners and also Google."