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No More Phones, No Netbooks, Nothing

Gordon Kelly


Goodbye Google Gadgets

This week Google formally announced it has discontinued its Nexus One smartphone. In a short blog post it said:

"This week we received our last shipment of Nexus One phones. Once we sell these devices, the Nexus One will no longer be available online from Google. Customer support will still be available for current Nexus One customers."

The statement added that "Nexus One will continue to be sold by partners including Vodafone in Europe, KT in Korea, and possibly others based on local market conditions" but the news does mark the beginning of the end for Google hardware.

Speaking to broadsheet heavyweight the Telegraph earlier this month Google CEO Eric Schmidt admitted: "The idea a year and a half ago was to do the Nexus One to try to move the phone platform hardware business forward. It clearly did. It was so successful, we didn’t have to do a second one. We would view that as positive but people criticized us heavily for that. I called up the board and said: ‘Ok, it worked. Congratulations – we’re stopping’."

He has also dismissed plans of making a reference laptop/netbook for the company's impending Chrome OS saying:

"We’ve talked about it. We have a reference spec for Chrome OS, we have a couple of hardware partners all lined up and the open source is all out there. It’s on schedule and it will happen later this year. Let’s see how well those partners do first. My guess is we won’t need to. The PC industry is different from the phone industry. The PC industry is used to working with Microsoft, whereas the mobile industry was not used to working with software."

Lastly the much rumoured Google TV was eventually announced in May as a software platform which can be integrated directly into TVs or sold as a separate digibox - though these will be manufactured and branded by third parties. Again the trend is Google doesn't want to be responsible for hardware.

The obvious questions therefore are:

1. Why is Google suddenly so skittish about hardware?

2. Is Google's decision to return to being a software only company correct?

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