Google pulls plug on online mobile phone "store," changes it to a "showroom"

Google pulls plug on online mobile phone "store," changes it to a "showroom"

Summary: Google pulls the plug on its online mobile phone store, pushes Nexus One deeper into retail


Google said today that it is pulling the plug on the online mobile phone store that it launched in January when it announced a new way to buy the HTC Nexus One.

As you'll recall, the company had this grand vision of changing the way that people shop for a phone. The idea was to build the store around the devices - the Nexus One, initially - and then allow the customers to choose their own carrier. The site started with T-Mobile but was expected to add Verizon and later Sprint, as well as Vodafone for overseas customers.

But then Verizon pulled out, ditching the Nexus One for the very similar Droid Incredible, both made by HTC. Later, Sprint also had a change of heart and dumped the Nexus One for the forthcoming Evo 4G, also an HTC device.

So what happened? Google explains it best in a blog post:

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.

And so, the company will make the Nexus One more readily available through retail stores and will shift the online "store" to more of an online "showroom," a place where users can check out all Android phones.

I wasn't a fan of the online store from the beginning, even though I had initially been very excited about the Nexus One. But I will give Google props for giving it the old college try. Consumers have long squawked about the carriers and long contracts and early termination fees and so on. Google was trying to provide an alternative.

So here's an "A" for your attempt at doing something differently. Let's make it an "A+" for recognizing that it was time to cut your losses and get back to the business of making Android even better than it already is.

(Yes, I'm biased. I bought a Droid Incredible on Day One and have turned my back on the iPhone.)

Topics: Mobility, Google, Hardware, Telcos

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  • RE: Google pulls plug on online mobile phone

    Technology has seen the rise of 5-10 big Giants which are consolidating smaller companies and expanding their products/services to fight each other across mutliple segments like smartphones,tablets,SAAS,operating systems etc. Smartphones has been one of the most hotly contested segments with multiple players.Google which made a big bang entry with a multitude of partners through its Android Operating System is shifting its stance.It is backing away from smartphone hardware which was never its forte.Even Microsoft except for the XBox has never been able to make any headway in technology (read Zune).Only Apple has managed to combine the software and hardware into an unbeatable package in smartphones,music players,laptops and now in tablets.Read more at
  • Advertise mainly as an unlocked phone for GSM and CDMA

    The G1 DEV phone was an unlocked phone. That needs to be the point of the Nexus one. Have both CDMA options as well as GSM. People will buy the phone based on which carrier they want to join. This way, a person can join a carrier and leave at their own terms with the best phone on the market.
  • Get It Right

    The real reason the Nexus One online store failed is that it was too expensive and the T-Mobile Nexus plan made no sense. An online store is a great concept, but what is the motivation to actually buy one at full retail with nothing thrown in to sweeten the deal?
    • Nexus One isn't a Failure! ....the store is!

      @BobinAtlanta That's why Google is moving into the physical store front business. They will offer the phone in Shopping Mall Kiosks, Walmarts, Best Buys, etc. Not locked to any carrier until you sign on the dotted line and test drive the phone. That's the only failure. Online you can't physically handle the phone and in America, that's all part of the process. Going into a physical store, seeing it and using it in person. The game console market got it's boost by putting demo units in Toys are Us in the stores. The first to really take advantage of this was Sony and part of the reason they've led the World..... that is of course until they put ignutz Sir Howard Stringnutz in charge of all Sony and allowed him to hire his nitwit brother to run Sony BMG. What was he responsible for? .....yep, the music CD Rootkit Fiasco!

      But back to my point; Google signing that T-Mobile timed exclusive deal was perhaps their worst mistake. You don't limit a subsidized phone to a such a small carrier like T-Mobile and expect to make any money selling phones there!

      T-Mobile has the worst standard and 3G coverage of any major carrier in America! .....otherwise, I would have bought one!
  • "I turned my back on iPhone" ?

    Dude get a life, it's a phone..... so is the Android.
    You make it sound like a life and death choice...
    It's".... really!"
  • Author is redefining "loser"....

    We get the point, you have moved on from the iPhone. You seem to mention it every day. Did you read that developers are having a tough time making ANY money on the Android Market and that was a potential negative? Did you read that it is almost impossible for a standard user to upgrade the Android OS, which means over time you will have issues with app compatibility? It is all fine and good you love your Droid Incredible, but grow up.
    Mike Cox
  • RE: Google pulls plug on online mobile phone

    What was the loss for Google on this adventure? How much money have they spent on the smart phone market? WHat is the market share capture. Keep going google it is a much harder fight in the hardware world, because the end user has the last word they buy or thye do not....
  • RE: Google pulls plug on online mobile phone

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