Nexus One Joining iPhone on ATandT May Boost Sales
(The previous version, which was unlocked, could only access AT&T's 2G, or EDGE, network-which was a sticking point in the carrier's 2009 lawsuit against Verizon Wireless.)
To date, sales of the Nexus One have been modest compared with the also-Android-running Motorola Droid-a reality that analysis firm Flurry partly blames on the circumstances of its arrival. While the Nexus One was supported by T-Mobile, it was untraditionally offered directly from Google, the creator of its operating system, whereas the Droid made its debut on the Verizon Wireless network, supported by $100 million in marketing.
While Apple sold 1 million iPhones in the device's first 74 days on the market, and Verizon sold 1.05 million in as much time, Google sold fewer than 200,000 Nexus One handsets.
Making the Nexus One available to a whole new subscriber base is certain to increase sales, though by how much is the question.
"If you're joining AT&T, you're quite possibly doing so to have an iPhone," Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK. "There will be some users for whom the features of the Nexus One will be preferable, but more likely it's vice versa."
The Nexus One's arrival on the iPhone's turf March 16, said Gottheil, will increase Nexus One sales, "but maybe not as much as it would have on maybe Verizon," where it didn't have to compete so directly with the iPhone.
Analyst Roger Kay, with Endpoint Technologies, doesn't expect much to be stirred up, calling it a "minor development" from a commercial development. "Still," he told eWEEK, "it put Google squarely in Apple's playpen."
AT&T added the Motorola Backflip to its smartphone lineup March 8, making the Nexus One its second phone to run the Google mobile operating system. Reportedly, there are four more Android devices still to arrive this year.
Noting the seemingly unending arrival of attractive, feature-rich phones, TBRI's Gottheil added, "There will be some number of users who, having the choice, will choose the Nexus One over the iPhone."
The reality, he said, is that "the market for touch-screen phones is so huge, they're not seriously going to hurt each other, as far as we can tell." The market is big enough to find takers for an attractive product on a desirable platform.