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Google Shifts Nexus One Distribution Strategy

5/17/2010 12:37:28 PM Eastern
Mountain View, Calif. - Google will change the distribution strategy behind its NexusOne smartphone, opting to sell the Android-based device through existing retail channels rather than through its own online store.

Volume through the company's Web store has not lived up to expectations, the company claimed. The announcement was made after Verizon Wireless and Sprint decided not let the company sell the phone with activation on the NexusOne site.

To date, Google has been selling the NexusOne with activation on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks only. It also sells the phone unlocked.

The online store has "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," engineering VP Andy Rubin said in a Google blog post.

Google said it will work with partners "to offer Nexus One to consumers through existing retail channels" and that "once we have increased the availability of Nexus One devices in stores, we'll stop selling handsets via the Web store." At that point, the Web store will turn into "an online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally," Rubin said.

 Google's blog didn't say whether the company plans to sell only through brick-and-mortar stores, including carrier stores, or whether it would also sell through online retailers that activate phones on a variety of networks.

Earlier this year, Google promised to sell a version activated on the Verizon Wireless network, but Google later dropped that plan, and a Verizon spokesperson later told TWICE that the carrier never publicly stated that it would allow Google to act as an authorized agent to sell the device with activation.

Sprint, on the other hand, had publicly stated it would permit Google to sell a Sprint-network version with activation, but now, a spokesperson said, "We changed our mind given the overwhelming response to (the planned 3G/4G HTC-made) Evo and its impressive list of features." Like the Nexus One, the Evo runs on Google's Android 2.1 smartphone OS and will be available June 4 at $199.

 
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