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Google Admits Failure, Will Cancel Nexus One Online Sales

Gordon Kelly


Google Admits Failure, Will Cancel Nexus One Online Sales

Just because you have a futuristic product and a futuristic sales model doesn't mean you'll be successful...

Despite a great deal of hype and largely positive reviews, Google has admitted sales of its Nexus One smartphone online have been disappointing and it will now scrap this approach.

"With every innovation, some parts worked better than others," explained Google VP of engineering Andy Rubin. "While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. 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 from."

In response Google will now look to push the Nexus One to networks around the world - a system it has already employed in Europe. Once this is achieved Google will pull sales of the Nexus One online completely and instead use the space as a portal to showcase a wide variety of Android based handsets from all manufacturers.

"Innovation requires constant iteration," concluded Rubin. "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."

That's about as close to admitting failure as you're ever likely to hear from a tech giant. Don't get used to it...


Google Blog


May 17, 2010, 6:26 am

I'm not sure this is a big deal, we've all been waiting for Google to sell the Nexus One in the normal fashion, people understandably like to try phones that cost several hundred quid and/or come with 18 month contracts first in shops.

Sales of Android handsets are now higher than those of the iPhone, things are going well. Google surely has much more of a financial interest in that than an online outlet for a single product? Let somebody else have the hassle..


May 17, 2010, 11:43 am

Is there ever gonna be a TR review?


May 17, 2010, 11:56 am

Yes... but our Google overlords made a lot of noise about how their "new distribution model" was going to revolutionise the mobile market... so this is very clearly a slap in the face with a wet fish as the financial and market realities of network operator subsidised handsets and try-before-you-buy become apparent.

And hence this represents a real example of "Google Myopia" where they think that their "Mountain View World View" is the "real world"... and hence why a bunch of affluent, "early adopting techno-geeks" built a channel that, in the end, only appealed to (guess who?) affluent "early adopting techno-geeks".

And that myopia is a real threat to Google going forward. It's fine to build a product with yourself as the customer as long as you are happy to focus on a niche market but Google can't do that. Everything Google-y is about mega volume and economies of scale.

"Disruptive innovation via disintermediation" (i.e. shaking things up via a new channel to market) is only good when its what you customers want. All of your customers, not just you & your geek mates.


May 17, 2010, 1:18 pm

@xenos,so your basically saying the combined models from htc,motorola,google,samsung,lg etc in total only just outsold the iphone?.

i think thats something for apple to brag about


May 17, 2010, 3:23 pm

and this is the problem with the Motorola Milestone in the UK. Exclusive to a web only store? How is that going to be good for a device manufacturer? Especially for a have-to-try-the-keyboard-in-person device like the Milestone?

Still, at least Google are doing something about it...


May 17, 2010, 3:29 pm

I'm all for selling the nexus one in the shops and with more carriers BUT I very much hope you will still be able to buy it 'sim free' as all of them are sold now, therefore recieving all the updates from google without delay, and not being 'crippled' by any network.

I fact I have never really understood why phones are sold sim locked, if you buy a phone on contract you are commited to paying for all the 18 months, so if you were to use and pay for a different network for that time then the first network is getting all your money and you are not using any of their network, so they are getting tuly free money, even if you cancel your contract early you have to pay all the contract off so the network dont loose out eitherway.


May 17, 2010, 4:29 pm

Kudos to Google for trying something new, it didn't work, but that's how we get progress, people and companies being willing to try something new.


I'm not sure Apple should brag, Android has gotten to this stage in 18 months and has come on in leaps and bounds. With a more open business model, it presents a genuine threat to the iPhone. All of which is great news for us consumers :-)


May 17, 2010, 4:42 pm

if apple are selling their one phone at the same rate as say 30 other phones combined inclding the desire,legend,nexusdroid etc cant see them worrying,plus when the new iphone comes out next month they will take even more sales back


May 17, 2010, 5:03 pm

I think it's ironic that the sales model by which I wanted to purchase a Nexus One was the web-based one. And now they are scrapping that and adopting the network locked model in the US, like the UK has.

I'd buy a Nexus One if it was about £320, but seeing as it costs around £400+ sim free in the UK, why wouldn't you go with the better reviewed Desire?

Very poor Google.

Peter 20

May 17, 2010, 5:21 pm

I hope they will still offer an Unlocked version of the phone somehow.


May 17, 2010, 5:50 pm

@betelgeus - All those manufacturers making Android phones is the point, if they know people like the OS they will move more and more models on to it and a snowball effect will occur. They are now level pegging with the iPhone, where are the developers going to go when there's 5x more Android handsets out there than iPhones? That's why Apple bothered to refute the claims Android is shipping more handsets, they should be seriously worried..


May 17, 2010, 5:55 pm

@betelgeus: yes because if you want the iphone OS or want the apps you HAVE only one choice for a phone the iphone, if you had an ipod touch with apps they have locked you in to only 2 devices, but if you want an android device you have the choice, do you want a keyboard? have a milestone, a high style phone? the legend, updateability? the nexus one, and all your apps will work 100% on each one, and you have the choice to choose the hardware you want not what is dictated to you.

@darkspark88: updateability, when froyo comes out then the nexus will likely get it pretty fast, whereas the desire will likely take a good few months or even a year, plus its is one of the easist phones to root (jailbreak for android) so you can install any compatible custom rom without any hastle, even the very old tmobile G1 can have 2.1 now


May 17, 2010, 6:09 pm

@Jay - My guess would be days / weeks for the Desire, it's very popular. It may take longer for networks with custom versions to release it but for HTC to apply the Sense UI and add a few drivers and whatever else shouldn't take long at all. I can't see customers standing for network providers putting their own crap branding all over Android handsets much longer though, everybody seems to be loading a generic ROM (and with good reason) or just avoiding network branded handsets all together.


May 17, 2010, 7:21 pm

i personally ahve an android phone my self,the only thing coming out of more and more people having an android set is the realsisation how far behind iphone is it is,even after 2 half years the os isnt as good as the first version of iphone os,imo using android browser opera and mobile safari,safari is still miles ahead.the whole touch experiance are miles apart.


May 17, 2010, 11:04 pm


I wouldn't hold your breath. Much as I like HTC they have been beyond useless with updates. The Hero is still waiting for 2.1 It's beyond a joke. If it wasn't for XDA I would have gone mad. When FroYo comes along it'll be rooting time for my Desire.


Which Android handset are you using? IMHO although Vanilla Android isn't quite up there Sense is at least as good as the iPhone. I personally think that the iPhone has fallen behind but admit that I'm biased.


May 17, 2010, 11:07 pm


Sorry to hear that your experience has not been that great. However, I don't agree that Android is far behind the iPhone, in some ways the interface is not as polished, but in other ways Android and some of its apps are ahead of the iPhone. I know some who prefer the iPhone, some who prefer Android and I know a couple of iPhone owners that are planning to change after playing with a Desire for a while.

Great to see Apple getting a run for their money, competition will just result in better devices and software all round.


May 18, 2010, 12:17 am

@betelgeus - You make no sense, go and buy an iPhone if it's what you prefer. I tried both (Desire v 3GS) and decided hardware wise the Desire was FAR better value for money, Android was going to be a much more exciting platform long term and that I don't really like Mr Jobs. There's nothing 'miles apart' about the touch experience.

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