Google's Nexus One: Can it recover after an early bellyflop?

Google's Nexus One: Can it recover after an early bellyflop?

Summary: Google's Nexus One came out of the gate strong and promptly fell on its face and sold a mere 135,000 units, according to mobile analytics company Flurry. Is it too early to call the Nexus One a flop?


Google's Nexus One came out of the gate strong and promptly fell on its face and sold a mere 135,000 units, according to mobile analytics company Flurry. Is it too early to call the Nexus One a flop and was such dismal performance really that surprising?

The Motorola's Droid and Apple's iPhone both sold 1 million units or more in the first 74 days of sales, according to Flurry. Flurry took the Droid and iPhone 74-day sales and compared it to the Nexus One. The Google phone was a train wreck.

So what went wrong? A lot of things that had little to do with the phone. Once you digest the reality of the Nexus One you realize that Flurry's numbers aren't all that surprising. Among the lessons learned:

  • The phone is $529. Sure it's unlocked and yes you don't have a carrier contract. But the reality is that folks in the U.S. trade off a contract for a subsidized phone every day. We're not going to break that habit just because Google wants us to.
  • Marketing matters. Google went with an opening day splash, but didn't market the Nexus One a bunch. Sorry folks, keywords aren't going to rally the masses or spark dinner conversation. What did the Droid and iPhone have in common? Verizon and AT&T marketing. And in the iPhone case, Apple wasn't shy about the commercials either.
  • Who you going to call? Just peruse the Nexus One information and you see a three headed monster---Google, HTC and T-Mobile---of support. You may hate your carrier, but at least there's one throat to choke.
  • There's no choice. If the Nexus One wanted any love it would have had Verizon Wireless at the launch. T-Mobile is a fine carrier, but it's about the network folks. And in the Northeast corridor---my home base---T-Mobile isn't much of an option. Now the Nexus One is compatible with AT&T's network, but it wasn't on opening day. How many of us really checked out the Nexus One site after that first week?

The big question: Will the Nexus One get off the mat? If Verizon Wireless backs it up there's a puncher's chance of success. If not, the Nexus One will be reserved for a few folks that will pay up for an unlocked phone.

You didn't expect Google's Nexus One to flout tradition, consumer habits and the wireless ecosystem and become a roaring success did you?


Topics: HTC, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

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  • Google's Nexus One: Can it recover after an early bellyflop?

    No. And this will only add more to Google's already tarnished rep.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Disagree

      Clearly, it has some catch-up to do.

      But news is that the Nexus One will soon be available in places other than the USA. This gives it a whole new launch from where to start and recover.

      But only if they lower the price (by bunddling with a carrier), put it into stores where people can touch it and tryit, and market it, just like every other phone company.

      Right now, they're selling only to geeks because only geeks have heard of it.
      • Google Nexus One to be Sold at Walmart w/choice of provider!

        If it is retailed and demonstrated by an
        Associate Rep the size of Walmart. Marketing will
        be set and a new way of selling this phone
        emerges. Sell the phone and pick your service
        provider by rates, ratings and service provided.
        Where it should be in the first place. There is a
        reason Net10 sells more phones in Walmart than
        anyone else. Best rates and service!

        This is the first true World Phone on the market.
        Sold irregardless of where you live or which
        service provider you want!

        Nexus One is the first One (cell phones) sold unencumbered to a service provider, specific
        network, brand name other than Google and T-
        mobile was just a drop in the competitive mobile
        smart phone market. But the phone being offered
        to run on so many providers networks there
        literally is NO OTHER COMPETITION to this phone.
        When they are distributed in Walmarts, CostCo's
        and Shopping Mall Cell Phone Kiosks, then let's
        see if these Apple big mouthed maggots can still
        talk their shit!

        Google's Nexus One has just begun this fight,
        with 1ghz processor, loaded w/ features and
        gorgeous look and feel, a Apple iPhone is
        prehistoric by comparison!
  • Mark my text: TMobile was just a soft launch.

    a large but not insane launch to prove the phones worth.

    When verizon launches it, there will be an all out blitz.

    Mark my text!
    • Nexus one will kill on Verizon!

      I agree, once it is officially anounced that it is ready for sale on Verizon, I believe there will be a big media blitz & some great promotions.

      One reason I believe this is that Verizon is advertising the heck out of the Motorola Droid, even buy one get one free adds. They know once the Nexus One hits on their network, it will all but take over the smartphone category on Verizon.
      • Who is "they"?

        It bellyflopped on TMobile. Those that really want an Android phone on
        Verizon have a Moto Droid.
        • maybe not

          It looks like something like 30% of polled blackberry users may want a
          nexus one. The N One has moved slow because its on a smaller carrier
          costs too much and you can't even try the phone out before you buy it.
          But from the technical aspect some say its the best phone on the
          market today. Its a good idea to understand why the phone is flopping.

          I might point out that Google may not really want the phone to sell
          well. They needed a phone to serve as the poster phone for Android
          without really being tied to another ad campaign and upsetting other
          partners worse than they have. Just look around. Even though the
          Droid is the big success story the Nexus One tends to be the face of
          Android where you see it discussed. Goolge certainly put the Droid
          upfront when discussing Android. All the N One amounts to really is a
          sleek face for the OS.
          • I hear this allot...

            Google wanted it to flop and that the N1 was just a show piece.

            I have another theory. Google really thought that people were willing
            to pay >$500 for a phone site-unseen, unlocked but tied to a single
            carrier and with almost no support. They really did expect it to fly off
            the shelf.

            For the most part, Google treated the N1 as yet another Beta Free
            Service. Works for Free. Not so much things that cost half a grand.

            To me, how Google handled the launch of the N1 seriously shows a
            high level of immaturity in the people doing the day-to-day work at
            Google. Very smart but very immature. They really see themselves as
            a representative cross sample of consumers without actually seeing
            what people really want.
          • absolutely agree - MAYBE NOT

            First of all, these are different BUSINESS MODELS! Nexus One is a prototype for this business model as a DIRECT SALE by Google.

            Are you noticing that everyone has launched or is readying a data only (no contract) plan?

            Are you noticing that everyone is lowering their cost for those plans?

            Do you think the iPhone made that happen?

            The Nexus One is actually for the technologically savvy. Apparently, most people would rather pay twice as much (incl services) to prove that THEY ARE NOT.

            Enough said... (former iPhone user here)
  • Verizon Moto spent $100 m on ads to sell 1 million Droids. 100 per phone!

    The 100 million was supposed for the launch alone, I don't
    know if they have spent more than that to get to 1 million
    sales. Still $100 m for 1 million phones = $100
    advertising per phone!
    Can anybody sustain that kind of advertising costs?

    Will Verizon spend that on future phones? Palm is already
    complaining about the lackluster Verizon Pre ad campaign.


    The droid cost 200
    the original iPhone cost 600.
    1 million sales for each is comparing a device marketed as
    low cost vs a luxury item.

    Apple sold nearly 9 million iPhones last quarter (90 days)
  • Android overtaking iPhone based on Nexus selling 6 million this year etc

    I've read all those blogs and analysts comments that
    android will overtake iPhone in a few years.

    Projections like that are based on fantasy notions, for
    example that Nexus One will sell 6 MILLION in 2010!
    even if Nexus one sales increases 10 times from now they
    would only sell only over a million!

    Jan 2010
    "Now that Google's Nexus One superphone has officially
    In a note to clients this morning, Barclays Capital analyst
    Doug Anmuth hazards a guess: Five to six million units
    sold in 2010"

    Projections of other Android phones are equally suspect.
    They project various android phones selling in the millions.
    Can anybody continue to spend like Moto and verizon
    100 million advertising to sell 1 million Droids?
  • Nexus One & the Blade Runner

    No way! Now that Apple is suing, who is going to take a
    chance on something that will be pulled off the market in a
    year or two.

    Nexus has Met its "Blade Runner" and its call "Apple".
    • Unless the judge slaps down Apple,

      maybe even finding out that the iPhone will havc to be pulled from the market, unless they make nice with Nokia and pay them for their IP.

      Oh, at the end of the movie, it was the Blade Runner who met his match, until he was saved by the very thing he was trying to destroy.

      Interesting analogy....
      John Zern
      • Are you an American or what!

        I'm from Canada so I may be wrong, But Apple is an American company
        trying to protect its US Patents from HTC "High Tech Computer Corp)
        HTC is a company in Taiwan, Republic of China.

        So what you're saying is, It's, OK for a foreign country to steal your
        (Apple) ideas Apple & Goggle use foreign companies to make their
        product but selling off your (USA) ideas is not very patriotic and Google
        should be slapped down for that.
        • Well, I am an American

          and quite proud of it, thank you.

          And I believe they speak English in most parts of Canada, so how you got that out of my statement is odd.

          If I thought that it was OK for a foreign country to steal Apple's ideas, I would have said that.

          I was pointing out that Apple may have stolen ideas from Nokia (in which they are in a suit for with them at the moment for that very reason, and Nokia [b]is[/b] a foreign company),

          I said that If Nokia wins, Apple may be forced into the same remedy they are trying to put HTC/Google in.

          Property is property, so it's wrong for anyone to take it.

          (The new problem with Apple is that there are questions arising as to whether Apple's patents have any merit.)
          John Zern
  • What I want to know is this:

    What is DonnieBoy going to do with 135,000 phones?
    Hallowed are the Ori
    • good one. ;-)

      Ram U
  • RE: Google's Nexus One: Can it recover after an early bellyflop?

    I like how you compare apples to oranges. I should post
    an article how I sold more pencils and pens than you sold
    cars and trucks.

    You're comparing two subsidized phones to an unsubsidized
    phone. What do you expect??

    Ignorance at it's best.
  • RE: Google's Nexus One: Can it recover after an early bellyflop?

    It would be a GREAT idea for the N1 to be available for a potential customers to use/test in store, but calling the N1 a FAILURE (sales wise) is just ridiculous. What most mobile tech sites don't seem to understand (but should) is that Google sees 'almost' all the profit from online sales only! they don't advertise on TV or radio and still manage to sell 130,000 phones to this point with no overhead! Now that's a lot of profit. With the addition of AT&T/Verizon and possibly Sprint to get this phone how can anyone call this a failure?

    Its funny how much Google/Android dislike there is here.
  • RE: Google's Nexus One: Can it recover after an early bellyflop?