Google to stop selling Nexus One online

Why is Google closing its Nexus One store? Because nobody's buying the unsubsidized phone!

Google announced on its blog today that it stop selling the Nexus One via its website soon. As the company explained,

We’re very happy with the adoption of Android in general, and the innovation delivered through Nexus One...But, as with every innovation, some parts worked better than others. 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.

No kidding, right? I'm a Google nut and couldn't wait to dump my BlackBerry for a Nexus One just as soon as it came to Verizon. Not only did I have no use for a GSM phone in my area, but I didn't have the cash to drop on an unsubsidized phone. As soon as it became clear that the Nexus One wasn't coming to Verizon, I pre-ordered my Droid Incredible (also, of course, subsidized on Verizon).

Sure, there are plenty of people out there who can just pay cash for a phone and activate it somewhere. I'm not one of them and neither are most cellular users (which means basically everyone). Google's new approach, also outlined in their blog post makes much more sense:

Once we have increased the availability of Nexus One devices in stores, we'll stop selling handsets via the web store, and will instead use it as an online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally.

The Nexus One was (and is) no doubt a great showcase for what an Android phone could be. However, these are powerful pocket computers that also happen to be phones. As such, they are expensive. No matter how innovative or cool, they need to be hooked into a wireless carrier anyway. Why pay full price when you're going to pay for data service monthly and plenty of subsidized Android phones are available on all major carriers?

Google also acknowledged that many users, when looking to buy a new phone (especially one that represents a completely new platform), need to poke around and hold it in their hands. When I pre-ordered my Droid Incredible, I was relatively confident that I'd be happy with it since I'd not only followed a variety of reviews, but had even used Android 2.1 on both a Droid and in an emulator on the Android SDK. A lot of consumers don't have that advantage. For Google to really drive new adoption of Android smartphones, the in-store experience is an important one.

Glad to see Google moving on...Now what was that about Nexus Two?