Feeds

Google denies carriers fled Nexus One webstore

Head Android blames hassle of direct sales

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Google I/O Google Android project lead Andy Rubin has said that wireless carriers departed the company's online Nexus One store only after it had decided to change how the phone was sold.

"I don't think our partners were backing away from selling the Nexus One," Rubin told reporters today at Google's annual developer conference in San Francisco. "I think what happened was that we changed our distribution model and couple of weeks passed by before we announced it and some of our partners made some product changes before we had the chance to announce it."

When Google announced the Nexus One in early January, calling it a "superphone," the company also said it would "revolutionize" phone distribution by selling the device only on the web. But less than four months later, word arrived that Vodafone would be selling the phone through its retail stores in Europe, and an update to Google's webstore indicated that both Vodafone and Verizon Wireless, the US carrier partly owned by Vodafone, would not be joining the store as planned.

Then, earlier this month, Google said it would close its online store as it switches all sales to partner retail stores. It will shutter the online store once it gets enough phones in enough brick-and-mortar stores.

Today, one reporter asked Rubin whether it was safe to say that Google had flopped in its effort to, as Rubin put in January, "fundamentally change the way phones were sold." Rubin paused. "From a technology perspective, I think the Nexus One was the showcase superphone at the time, and that set the bar," he responded. "To be revolutionary in the way people buy phones? That didn't happen."

At launch, Rubin said he would be happy if Google sold 150,000 Nexus One phones, and the company has apparently sold about 500,000 — but that's small potatoes compared to the larger Android market.

So why the change? Rubin indicated that Google changed its mind because running a webstore was just too complicated. "Fundamentally, we do a direct-to-consumer distribution business where you're hooking into these various provisioning systems for all these operators all over the world. It's a pretty intense undertaking just, literally, hooking into the billing systems that are available in all these operators in all these countries, and what we decided to do was to focus our resources on the platforms and the apps to make the platform shine rather than hooking into provisioning systems and billing systems."

You'd think a revolution would be worth the hassle. But there you have it.

Rubin says it took six months to build the US version of the store, which was the sole launch on January 5. "When we thought about how we were going to scale that to the world, we thought we would focus on the things that consumers will actually love."

Back in January, Rubin also said that in opening the Nexus One store, Google was not competing with existing Android partners. But word was that the likes of Motorola and Verizon were "miffed" at the fact that Google had turned itself into a phone seller. Motorola and Verizon had just spent $100 million promoting their Android-based Droid phone.

Rubin was also asked if there would be a Nexus Two. "You're asking me to comment on unannounced products," he said. "I can't do that." In March, a Google employee told The Reg that a Nexus Two was in the works. But that may have changed too. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.