Hang It Up: Google To Close Nexus One Web Store


Google on Friday said that it will end sales of its Nexus One smartphone through the Google Web retail store and look to sell Nexus One through other retail channels. The move comes less than six months after the Nexus One's debut and the promise of Google as a major e-tail player for phones and other products.

In a Friday blog post announcing the change, Google Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin said Google is "very happy with the adoption of Android in general, and the innovation delivered through Nexus One."

"But, as with every innovation, some parts worked better than others," Rubin writes. "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 choose from."

According to Rubin, the Nexus One will be made available through retail channels globally much the same way it's been rolled out in Europe. The Nexus One Web store on Google's main site will be an "online store window," he said, "to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally."

When Nexus One was first announced, plenty of skeptics noted that Google didn't have much in the way of e-tail experience and lacked the type of customer service support for its Nexus One sales model that many customers need. Sure enough, not three weeks into the Nexus One's debut, problems began to mount, from a dustup over early termination fees for Nexus One contracts to a lack of phone service for customer support needs.

All the while, the growth of Google's Android platform -- version 2.2 of which, dubbed "Froyo," is expected to be released next week -- has been robust. Slicker, more features-loaded Android phones have also come to the fore, including HTC's just released Droid Incredible, available on Verizon, and the forthcoming HTC EVO 4G on Sprint. While Google had promised that Nexus One would eventually be available through all four of the major U.S. carriers, both Verizon and Sprint in recent weeks cancelled plans to carry the phone.

Granted, when it launched Nexus One, Google itself de-emphasized the Nexus One phone and said that Google as an e-tailer was the thing to focus on. But now, it appears Google won't be selling anything at all through its online retail shop, and will revamp its plans around the much-ballyhooed, slow-selling Nexus One.

Google hasn't confirmed through which retail channels Nexus One might be available. At the time of Nexus One's launch, Google told CRN that the company had no immediate plans to add additional channels for Nexus One sales.