Bowing to the inevitable, Google said it will halt sales of the Nexus One through its online sales portal.
The much-ballyhooed “Googlephone” has been a major flop since its inception and the revolutionary direct-sales model that Google adopted was plagued by poor customer service, high termination fees, and consumers’ reluctance to move away from the carrier-sales model for mobile devices.
Built in partnership with Taiwanese device-maker HTC, the Nexus One sold online for $529, with no service plan. Customers could also buy the device through T-Mobile for $179, with a two-year service plan.
Acknowledging that the search-engine giant had failed in its effort to shake up the traditional mobile-device business model, Google mobile chief Andy Rubin wrote on the company’s official blog that the Web sales of the Nexus One never became more than a “niche channel for early adopters.” There were few of those: Various research groups said that overall sales of the Nexus One – which has been quickly surpassed by other devices running on Google’s Android mobile operating system, like the HTC Incredible – were embarrassingly low.
“It’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone,” Rubin added.
While the Nexus One has been a failure, the Android OS is an unqualified success. Research firm the NPD Group reported last week that Android, now sold on devices offered by all four of the major U.S. carriers, has moved into second place among smartphone platforms surpassing the iPhone OS for the first time.