News Analysis: Forget about the Google Nexus One as a new Android smartphone, which BroadPoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter summed up as evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.
The big news from Google's Nexus One launch Jan. 5 was Google's go-to-market strategy, which had analysts flapping their gums and flexing their typing fingers.
Today, users can navigate to this site and choose to buy the phone for $529, popping in their own GSM network SIM card, or pay $179 for a Nexus One serviced by T-Mobile and its two-year contract.
Mario Queiroz, Google's vice president of product management, touted the method as a new way for consumers to purchase a mobile phone. "The objective of Google's new consumer channel is to provide an efficient way to link, to connect online users to selected Android devices."
The point, Queiroz stressed, is simplicity, something that many will agree has been lacking in purchasing devices and wireless data plans to this point.
Ostensibly, Google is seeking to provide users with a one-stop shop for their smartphones, allowing users to log on to their Google account, pick a phone, pay via Google Checkout and wait for their phone to come in the mail. This isn't much different from the way consumers log on to Amazon.com and buy books or other goods.
The move puzzled some analysts and pushed others to compare it to other efforts from Dell and, of course, Amazon.com. BroadPoint's Schachter in a research note Jan. 7 said he sees parallels between Google's go-to-market with the Nexus One and Amazon's Kindle. However, he questioned why Google created an e-commerce site and branded the phone itself to sell it.
Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney may have the answer to Schachter's question. Google's online Web store is primarily about advertising, as Dulaney explained:
""It's a bit like when Dell went into the online PC-selling business. We've now gotten to the point where I think people will buy phones online, potentially not sight unseen and I think Google is trying to copy that model. This will compete against retailers like Radio Shack, Best Buy and Wal-Mart who are selling phones in their stores. It also puts a little bit of heat on Amazon because Amazon has never really developed a phone business within their store."And Google has never has been where Amazon is in terms of being an online retailer. Given that there has been about 1 billion phones sold in the world, this gives Google a reasonably good impetus to get into that marketplace and re-establish the store. If these people come to Google to look at the phones, that's going to mean advertising revenue for Google, which is really what they're about.""