Readers here know that I am a long-time T-Mobile customer and am very happy with my Google Nexus One that I purchased while at CES 2010. I read an article this morning that compared Motorola DROID, iPhone, and Nexus One sales after 74 days and it seems to me there is some flawed logic in this comparison. The iPhone and Motorola DROID launched on the two largest carriers in the US, were heavily advertised in print and on TV, and were available in carrier stores with full subsidized options available. The Google Nexus One was only sold online so no one could touch one before they bought it, was optimized to support the 3G network on the fourth largest US wireless carrier, and was extremely limited with the subsidization model (one single plan option). Honestly, if they really have sold 135,000 Nexus One units in 74 days then I would say that is quite an accomplishment in a country where people balk at paying more than $200 for their high end smartphones.
I would be interested in seeing how many of those Nexus One units sold were at the full $529 unsubsidized price. That is what I paid so that I could use the Nexus One with my existing family plan and not have to make any changes to my contract. It took T-Mobile USA 6 months to sell 1 million T-Mobile G1 Android devices and that device was fairly well advertised, available for $179 with different plan options, and was available in the stores for people to hold and try out before purchasing. While smartphone geeks like most of us are fine with paying $500+ for a phone we haven't ever held, your standard person purchases the majority of their phones at their local wireless carrier store and I know the sales numbers would be much higher if the Nexus One was sitting in the store next to all of the other smartphones and promoted in stores.
Whether or not the current sales of the Nexus One is considered a failure for Google or not cannot be determined because Google never stated any goals or real purpose for selling these devices directly from their online store. The Nexus One may have just been a test case to see how many Google fans would buy such a phone site unseen and selling 135,000 in just over 2 months seems to be quite a success, don't you agree?
UPDATE: Larry apparently thought the sales numbers were a bit of a flop too and wondered if they could recover. I think the announcement today of an AT&T and Rogers Wireless model may be a bit of a spark for a fantastic device.