Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

Summary: As Sprint pulls the plug on Nexus One, it's time for Google to throw in the towel on a direct sales model for mobile phones.

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Not two months ago, Sprint announced that it would carry Google's Nexus One, an HTC device that Google was showcasing as part of its direct-to-consumer sales effort. Today, the word is that Sprint has changed its mind.

HTC Evo 4G

A Sprint spokeswoman tells Gizmodo that the company would instead be focusing its efforts around the launch of the Evo 4G, another HTC device powered by Google's Android mobile OS and one that's capable of using both 3G and 4G signals. Still weeks away, the Evo 4G is already getting some good blog love. (Gallery)

It sounds an awful lot like what happened with Verizon and its decision to dump the Nexus One in favor of the Droid Incredible, a very similar device that was being sold directly by Verizon instead of Google. I was very happy to see the Incredible replace the Nexus One for Verizon and I'll say the same about Evo 4G on Sprint.

My only reason for feeling this way: Google shouldn't be in the business of selling phones.

I'm not looking for an "I told you so." Instead, I'd just like to see Google pull the plug on this model once and for all. Google tried to reinvent the mobile phone sales model - there's no harm in that. But it just wasn't the right time or the right approach. It should cut its losses and stay focused on what's more important, making the Android OS better and better with every version and building that ecosystem of Android-powered devices so consumers can have their choice of the carrier as well as the look and feel of different devices.

Google needs to move on already. The carriers are making it easier to do.

Topics: Telcos, Enterprise Software, Google, Mobility

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14 comments
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  • Bad news

    Big mistake on Sprint's part in my opinion. With Verizon bailing on the Nexus One, Sprint had a unique opportunity to one-up them by offering both the Nexus One and the higher-end EVO 4G. As it stands now, Sprint has no offering comparable to the Incredible (EVO is bulkier and has a front-facing camera, HDMI out, and other things that may not interest mainstream consumers).

    Plus the Android 2.1 stock user interface is reportedly better than SenseUI (which may not have been the case for Android 1.5). Now users are FORCED to use SenseUI.
    thrillhouse
    • RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

      @thrillhouse

      The Incredible is as close to the EVO as you're going to get at this time. The dimensions are very close (Incredible's 4.63 x 2.30 x 0.47 inches compared to EVO's 4.8 x 2.6 x .5 inches) and the mainstream consumer is going to be more concerned with the OS experience more so than anything else. The front-facing camera and HDMI out may not interest them, but it's certainly not detracting from the phone.

      I've heard, purely from online reviews, that the Sense UI is superior to stock 2.1.
      geniekid
      • Sense UI vs. Stock UI

        @geniekid:

        I've used both interfaces and both, in my opinion, work just fine. However, my personal preference for skins such as Sense UI is that they should be optional; they should be easy to turn off if you want to use the standard Android interface. With the Incredible, HTC has made that hard to do; there is no on/off switch for Sense UI on the Incredible that I've found. I don't like that.

        Although, Sense UI is a good interface, I normally always prefer the standard interface over a skin; for my own personal reasons. I didn't care for TouchFlo on the Windows Mobile phones but Sense UI seems to be a better skin than TouchFlo. Still, I think the user should be able to choose. The way HTC is headed, your only choice will be to opt for a different Android phone; at least, that will be the case for the average user, one who isn't comfortable rooting their phones and installing custom ROMs.

        As for which is "better"; well, that is obviously a matter of personal taste and nobody would win that argument. I prefer the standard interface but others will prefer Sense UI. There's really no reason we can't have it both ways.
        kb5ynf
      • RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

        @geniekid

        Exactly what kb5ynf said. Sense is not "better" or worse. It's just different. I think it would've been smart for Sprint to offer both phones. A friend has Sprint and it sounded like their selection wasn't too great. He's now got an HTC Hero (Sense UI), and I've got a Droid (with ROM very similar to the Nexus One). The Nexus One is also the best version of 2.1 Android right now. For example, it has a nice 3D launcher, while the stock Droid (even on 2.1) has that ugly tab to pull out an app drawer.

        I've thought about trying out Sense UI on my Droid, but last I checked, there wasn't a stable ROM available. I think I'll check right now...

        Point is, more choice is better.
        midenginedrift
  • RE: This is great news for Google.

    It's very surprising to me how many tech bloggers are wrongly analyzing what's going on here.<br><br>Google never wanted to enter the phone business. They wanted to sell Android (look at their business model and what makes them money), and there was a shortage of capable phones, so they were forced to take matters into their own hands. They sold the phone directly from their website so that people would notice, and, more importantly, to project the mindset that the phone experience was of higher importance than the carrier. You could buy a smartphone comparable to the iPhone and get choose your carrier after the fact! This was not entirely true at launch, but it was clearly the goal. <br><br>The fact that there are two superior Android phones on the two carriers that don't have the Nexus One is awesome for them. They have a flagship Android phone on each of the four carriers now, 2 of which they don't have to offer any kind of customer support for. Don't like AT&T? Get a N1 on T-Mobile, or an EVO 4G on Sprint, or a Droid Incredible on Verizon.<br><br>Google would love it if T-Mobile and AT&T had their own HTC Whatevers running Android. They would love to see the demand for the Nexus One dry up and die. I repeat: They aren't in the business of selling phones, they're in the business of selling software (marketing information), and each Android phone that blows away the Nexus One is only making them more successful while reducing the cost of customer support and moving inventory.
    geniekid
    • RE: RE: RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

      @geniekid <br><br>Yeah it is surprising that many tech bloggers don't get it. It's very simple. What is Google's business model? What has made them billions? Which is more lucrative producing producing handsets or ensuring mobile eyeball can access the web unencumbered by a single handset maker? The purpose of Nexus One is to be a "reference platform", not to produce a phone for the masses. Wake up and think!!!
      TJGodel
    • Schmidt Said It

      @geniekid
      Eric Schmidt said several time during Atmosphere that Google doesn't want to be in the hardware business (or the carrier business): it wants to stay focused on its Internet business.

      Google will not develop a ChromeOS netbook or tablet. Neither will they do a phone again.
      daengbo
  • You are reading the carrier's reasons all wrong.

    Its odd that you are lambasting Google instead of the carriers. Their rejecting of Nexus One has nothing to do with the Evo 4G being a superior model. The carriers do not like Google's ultimate aim by controlling hardware and software. If Google was finally able to offer a phone that was compatible with all four carriers, what's to stop the user from shopping the competitor with the best service and rates if the user experience will be same? That is ultimately what they don't want and I personally think Google should stay in the hardware business. The nexus one offers a better experience than the carrier only phones for the same reason that the iPhone does . . . updates. Your Nexus one gets updates as soon as their released, not when the dumb carrier decides to let it happen . . . if at all.
    eprisencc
  • RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

    Google dosent care if these phone companies sell its phone...wake up....And i dont want every Tom,Dick and Harry with my phone anyway,if i did i would buy an iphone...Sprint looses a million customers a month,do you think the HTC EVO is goin to save then,I wouldnt want my phone associated with them.............
    Tony862
  • :P

    sprint is irrelevant.
    iamrta
  • RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

    Um, hello? Sprint is about to release a phone that will allow the customer to save $30-55/month by dropping their traditional internet provider. WiMax will allow this phone to connect up to 8 wifi gadgets. This will sell like crazy. I know not every town has 4G, but they will soon. Sprint would sell more if they'd been able to renew the NFL Network contract.
    MondayMetrics
    • RE: RE: RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

      @MondayMetrics I'm using Clear right now and I'll admit 4G is pretty sweet when it works (the down time has been getting less frequent and is pretty much non-existent six months into my contract...service in Fort Worth, Texas). I haven't just yet brought myself to unplug the AT&T wired monopoly that took over my house before it was built... but you can bet I've had it at the back of my mind.<br><br>There may be a time when mobile devices take the place of home internet but I'd be skeptical of any intent to make data cheap. If anything, they will probably try to scoop up market share, go into lock down mode with long term contracts and then go for the consumer jugular like Dracula after a two year blood free sabbatical.<br><br>That being said... I can see your point that a good number of people may line up to get their hands on some 4G magic. Personally, I don't know how fast a trend like that would take because everyone in the house would need a 4g phone with an unlimited data plan so persons B and C could use the internet while person A was away from the house. Until everyone in my house is a smart phone user, I don't see that happening here.<br><br>Ps. Sorry if I've come across a little bias against the intent of both the wired and wireless industry.
      javahead76
  • Sprint?

    Sprint? They're still around? I didn't know anyone still used them.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Sprint nixes NexusOne for Evo 4G; Is Google's mobile sales business a bust?

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