Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Google To Sell Last Shipment of Nexus Ones In U.S.

 Nexus One
Google will sell off its last shipment of the Android-powered Nexus One smartphone in the U.S. After that, the Nexus One will only be available in other countries. Google's experiment with selling the Nexus One primarily online appears to have clashed with buyers' desire to see and try a phone. Reviewers liked Google's Nexus One.

Want a collector's item? Consider a Nexus One smartphone, while supplies last. Once the search giant sells out its most recent shipment of the critically praised but sales-challenged handset, it will become a rare find for American consumers.

Still Available Abroad

The announcement comes about two months after Google announced it was giving up its unique approach of trying to market the HTC-manufactured Nexus One only online. Buying the phone unlocked for $529 allowed customers to choose their own carrier, while a subsidized version was available for $179 with a two-year T-Mobile contract. Plans to sell the Nexus One at major retail outlets evidently did not materialize.

Google was long believed to be planning a Verizon Wireless version of the Nexus One, but announced in April that it would not. Instead, it recommended the Droid Incredible, also made by HTC and also based on the Android mobile operating system.

The inability for people to see what they were buying beforehand in a store, rather than rely on reviews, might have killed the Nexus One.

"People want to see and test the phone," said wireless analyst Ken Dulaney of Gartner Research. "Also, [Google] didn't work with the [carriers] on this, and that didn't work out. Apple made the same mistake on their first version [of the iPhone]."

High Expectations

The January launch of the Nexus One came after months of speculation that Google, after designing a winning operating system for other phones, would release its own branded phone not directly tied to a wireless carrier. The phone impressed reviewers with such features as the ability to transcribe speech for search and noise-canceling front and back microphones. The stakes were high because Google is working hard to move beyond its domination of search and advertising into new areas, and the smartphone arena is tempting.

But only about 135,000 units were sold in the first 74 days. In the same number of days, Apple sold a million iPhones and Verizon sold one million Motorola Droids. Subsequent sales figures were not released, but pulling the plug on the online store was an indication of trouble.

Google, however, can still boast that Android is a hit on phones made and distributed by others, such as the Droid Incredible and the recent, top-selling Droid X as well as Sprint Nextel's EVO 4G. Surveys show Android-based phones winning an increasing share of the U.S. market.

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