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Google Stops Selling Its Own Phone

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the retail-is-hard dept.

Cellphones 196

Dave Knott notes that Google has announced it will close its online cell phone store and no longer sell the Nexus One smartphone directly to consumers. "While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not," wrote Andy Rubin, a Google vice president of engineering, on the official company blog. "It's 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." From the Globe and Mail article: "At least one aspect of Google's attempt to disrupt the world of mobile communications — selling phones directly to customers — has failed. ... [T]he decision to design and sell the Nexus One was perhaps more potentially disruptive for carriers. ... Google plans to continue marketing the Nexus One through 'existing retail channels, essentially partnering with carriers around the world. The Nexus One web store, meanwhile, will essentially become a marketing portal 'to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally.'"

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196 comments

While android is leading iphone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221788)

While android is leading iphone, Google has no need to do this any more. The phone served the purpose of showing what android can do. Now lets hear from apple fanbois.

Re:While android is leading iphone (0, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221798)

The company that can really utilize it is HTC. They have done wonders with Windows Mobile too. I always kept reading how much WM sucks, but then I learned that HTC did extreme modifications to it and made it good.

Google isn't a cellphone company. Just leave it to the guys with experience in it.

Re:While android is leading iphone (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221974)

Umm, HTC makes the Google Nexus One, in fact on the back of mine both names are prevalent. HTC just made it more or less to the specs that Google wanted, I'm sure that HTC contributed plenty in terms of expertise, but this was the phone that Google wanted made.

I've got one and it's a really nice phone, it's nice to see that rather than giving up completely, Google's just moving the sales to stores rather than killing the phone completely. It's a good phone and I'm sure people will see that when they play with it in store.

Re:While android is leading iphone (2, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222306)

yes, this was the phone Google wanted HTC to make and most likely the phone they wanted others to make. Before the N1, all the other Android phones were underpowered ~600MHz ARM9 based instead of using any of the other ARM Cortex a8 chips which were available. It seemed to me that Google wanted to up the ante for what it meant to be an Android phone and from the number of kick butt Android phones on the market, the N1 did was it would appear it was supposed to do.

Apple will have to leapfrog what the N1 and others put out there and it's all good. It would have been nice if customers took to purchasing the N1 off contract to put pressure on the carriers to provide more options but we can't have it all at once.

LoB

Re:While android is leading iphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222804)

Windows Mobile

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA...ha...ha...*takes a breath*...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......

Re:While android is leading iphone (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221956)

The cellphone vendors will also be far happier to use Android if Google is not competing with them.

Re:While android is leading iphone (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222022)

Yes, this is the real reason that Google is stopping sales. The carriers want to feel important. People will still end up using the phone on T-Mobile most of the time, so this will affect few people to any significant degree.

Re:While android is leading iphone (1)

quickgold192 (1014925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222268)

But the carriers will be less happy, since they charge the same for a plan whether or not you buy a phone through them. With the Nexus One, the customer pays for the whole phone, AND pays the full service price.

Carriers need to stop being phone vendors and need to start being service-providers. Customers should be able to see what part of their plan is funding their service, and what part is paying off their phone. That's the only way to create price-competition between phone manufacturers: show the customers what they're really paying for their phone instead of hiding the price in the service plan.

Re:While android is leading iphone (2, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222466)

With T-mobile you can get a cheaper plan if you buy the phone outright, but your point holds true with the AT&T version of the phone I think.

If you buy the phone outright, you pay $50/month, if you buy it subsidized with a 2 year contract it's $80/month.

$80*24 = $1920 Buy phone outright: $529 Buy subsidized phone: $179 So if you spend $350 more now, you save $1920 later for a net gain of $1570.

It's the dirty little secret of the wireless industry. They are subsidizing the phone by loaning you $350 for which you you pay them back over 5 times as much over 2 years. It's usury, and it should be illegal.

Re:While android is leading iphone (2, Informative)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222538)

Whoops math fail. Forgot to account for the difference. It should read 30*24 = 720, so you are paying $350 up front for $720 in savings.

Re:While android is leading iphone (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222334)

I think the same could probably also be said (to a lesser extent) of the hardware vendors. I can't imagine Motorola, Samsung, LG, et al. we're thrilled that HTC was the only maker of the 'official' Google Phone.

To be honest, it seemed like a bad idea from the start. But it's too bad -- the Nexus One is the sleekest and one of the most powerful of the Android phones. I really think it's sexier looking than an iphone from a industrial design perspective.

Really though, the mistake was not getting Verizon and Sprint on board and letting them sell it in their stores. I think Google tried to take too big of a step at once. I still think they can make a significant impact on the way phones are made, sold and used; but they should have gone for baby steps instead of trying to drag the entire industry kicking and screaming into a business model that carriers probably didn't see as mutually beneficial. .

Carriers are desperate to differentiate themselves. And with the Android Market they lose both a revenue stream, and a way to differentiate themselves since mobile apps are taken out of their hands. I think they probably saw the Nexus One as a pointless deal that had little to no upside If Google had given them some kinda sweet contract deal, they might have done it, and we would have been one step closer to device portability (with many steps, including technology hurdles, still left to come). But I just got the feeling Google tried to take 10 steps towards device portability and the elimination of the racketeering cartel power of the carriers, and they just were having none of that.

That said, I still am contemplating buying an N1, but I would have liked to see it on Verizon.

No big surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221792)

I would never buy a phone I couldn't hold in my hand and try out first. Yes you could try one out that a friend has, but I've never seen a nexus in the wild.

Not limited to Nexus One (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222120)

I've never seen a nexus in the wild.

It's not limited to Nexus One. I haven't seen a Maemo/MeeGo phone in the wild either. Today, to prove a point, I walked into three different local stores and asked to try a Nokia N900 phone. None of them had one. Is this commonplace for geek-friendly phones?

Re:Not limited to Nexus One (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222454)

Same here. I bought my N900 last December through Amazon and some stores didn't start carrying it until early March. Even then it only popped up in a few stores here and there, the kind run by contract package resellers (e.g. mobilcom in Germany).

Re:Not limited to Nexus One (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222492)

Even in Finland there aren't too many Nokia N900s to be seen. I've seen iPhones all the time, and Nokia's lesser (Symbian-based) phones, but the company doesn't seem to know how or even if to market the N900. I played with one in a shop and liked it, and it's the only one of the current smartphones that would give me the hacking environment and freedom that I want, but with Maemo being phased out for something called MeeGo that might not even run on the N900, I'm too nervous that this phone is at something of a deadend support-wise. I'm holding out to see what Nokia's MeeGo device looks like.

Re:Not limited to Nexus One (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222746)

I was playing with one a few months ago at the Nokia store in Chicago.

Re:No big surprise (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222710)

That's so true. Buying phone without holding it in hand is just for fanbois. Oh wait... strike that... it's just for SHEEPLE.

Re:No big surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222790)

s /phone/cock/

Damn it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221796)

And i wanted that phone too! unfortunately AT&T is the only reliable service provider around here... Besides Cellular South and I despise CDMA.
They better offer it on my network or I'll have to jailbreak that muthafucka.

Re:Damn it. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221904)

Uh, it was sold unlocked and working with every service provider. It was also available for about an year. Why didn't you order one if you wanted it so bad, then?

No discount for bringing your own phone (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222130)

unfortunately AT&T is the only reliable service provider around here

Uh, it was sold unlocked and working with every service provider.

Unlike T-Mobile, AT&T gives no discount on the service for bringing your own phone.

Re:Damn it. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222126)

They made an AT&T version of the Nexus One. I've got one here.

It never should have sold one in the first place (5, Insightful)

dougluce (1719466) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221814)

Qualcomm, Motorola, and others learned this for them already. If you've got something amazing to provide to the cell phone value stream, keep away from competing with those you are helping.

Re:It never should have sold one in the first plac (2, Funny)

UNHOLYwoo (1213830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221838)

I give them credit for trying to have their cake and eat it too... but as we all know, the cake is a lie.

Re:It never should have sold one in the first plac (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221912)

Bosh. I paid for my Nexus One outright, and I probably wouldn't have even looked at it if I had to stop in at one of the phone stores. Those places are sleazy.

T-Mobile has month-by-month rates. A little more pricy, sure, but you are able to switch carriers at any time. Works for me.

It's unfortunate that Google is throwing in the towel so quickly. They're spending fortunes on ads, right now, they must have the money to spare. I don't think they've considered what they're doing.

But I do love my Android phone. It could stand minor hardware tweaking. The software resources are phenomenal.

hehe (1, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221850)

Like Apple with OS X a decade ago, once you've got your start, you stop pretending to be "different" and caring for the developer community, and cater to your real revenue generators: in this case, the carriers.

Re:hehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221892)

It's hard to blame a company for trying to make money. Hell, it's GOOG's responsibility to its shareholders to bring in the $$$.

Re:hehe (0)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221922)

It ain't hard for me to blame a company for trying to make money at the expense of the consumer. Google just tipped over to Evil in my book.

Re:hehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221936)

What the hell are you talking about?

Re:hehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221942)

Hate to reply to my own post, but I misread the article. My previous post is pointless, and Google has tipped back to Suspicious in my book.

Re:hehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32221970)

So.. I assume you grow all your own food, raised and harvested all the lumber for your home, grow all the materials for your clothing, and make those clothes yourself. You also mined and refined all the materials for the computer you're posting from.

No? Then you, too, must be an evil bastard. Supporting all those evil companies, and evilly charging for your services. In which case, why do you care that Google is too?

Re:hehe (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222190)

It has whatever responsibility it's told its shareholders that it has, which isn't necessarily profit at all costs - or even profit, strictly.

Regardless, "I had to kill him - someone paid me to do it and I can't go back on my contract!" doesn't cut it.

Nice try (4, Informative)

jlechem (613317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221870)

But after looking at buying a Nexus One there were 2 primary options. Bend over and pay full price or bend over to T-Mobile and pay their price and lock in. And they only had two plans that were complete shit. I support as many new phones as possible but this wasn't priced well and the plan options they did offer just plain sucked.

Re:Nice try (4, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221894)

if you pay full price, you could get $20 / month off the t-mobile plans for people who are not on 2 year contracts, that worked out to be less than getting the 2 year plan over 2 years. i think they didn't advertise that well enough.

Re:Nice try (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221910)

Bend over and pay full price

Why is paying the cost of a product associated with bending over? Are you saying that the price of the Google One was unreasonably above the cost of production?

Re:Nice try (2, Insightful)

jlechem (613317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221920)

Maybe it's just me but I see paying over 500 dollars for a cell phone no matter how cool, bending over. I would never buy an iPhone for the same reason.

Re:Nice try (2, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222008)

Maybe it's just me but I see paying over 500 dollars for a cell phone no matter how cool, bending over.

Hence why most cell phones are leased, not sold (although that word isn't used, of course).

I still don't see the bending over bit. The cell phone costs a certain amount to produce, and the manufacturer asks that plus a reasonable profit. Sure there are cases where the manufacturing costs are less than half of the consumer price, but AFAIK Google One isn't one of those.

Re:Nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222048)

No, they are not leased, they are rent to own. Once you fulfill your contract, it's yours to do with as you wish.

Re:Nice try (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222724)

Also wrong.

A closer analogy is like buying on credit. You own the phone completely on day one (not leased or rented-to-own), but you are contracted to repay the costs over the year or 2 agreed. The moment you have the phone you're allowed to resell it, destroy it, give it away, whatever. But just as if you'd bought it on a credit card, you'll still be paying for it until the costs are met.

Re:Nice try (1)

Degro (989442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222184)

You just don't understand the sodomy based economy we live in...

Re:Nice try (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222486)

They are sold on contract. That is not a lease. With a lease, the phone company could expect to get something of value back from the customer, not a well used, obsolete phone.

Re:Nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222854)

Maybe it's just me but I see paying over 500 dollars for a cell phone no matter how cool, bending over. I would never buy an iPhone for the same reason.

Maybe it's just me, but if a netbook costs $200, wouldn't something that has similar computing power to a netbook, plus internet connectivity outside of WiFi hotspots, plus it comes in a package that's a quarter of the weight and size - so small that it fits in my pocket - actually be worth about $500 if you were able to just buy such a gadget off the shelf without having to deal with a phone company?

The real problem - as others have said - is that most carriers don't offer discounts on monthly plans to people who buy their own hardware. They'd rather rent hardware to you, and keep you paying for the rental long after you've paid the cost of the phone.

Re:Nice try (3, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222926)

Thats because you are looking for a phone.

Nexus One is in the category I like calling "Also a phone".

If you want a phone go look for a Nokia 6120 or something. Mind you 6120 is more than phone too.

With data usage on these mobile devices becoming more and more common, these things are more of an internet tablet with voice capability (vs the other way round).

Re:Nice try (2, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221960)

Don't subsidized smart phone plans generally cost $90 or more? I bought the unlocked Nexus One for $530, and got an unlimited data/unlimited texting /500 minutes with unlimited nights and weekends plan with T-Mobile for $60 a month. At a savings of $30 a month i'll have covered the difference between the full cost and the subsidized cost in a year.

Re:Nice try (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222270)

my iphone is $70 a month with all my taxes(I have an older plan that i talked the guy into letting me keep, so i just added data)

So you save $10 a month over me, or $240 over two years. I paid $300 for my phone so $540 plus the contract rate.

You saved how much over my iphone? none, zip, zilch. not to mention you didn't taxes onto your rate only the stated price. So we are equal and i got a phone that can actually use AT&T's 3G service and not stuck on dial up speeds of t-mobile.

(note AT&T 3G's service is highly variable then again so is verizon's, and yes I have compared the two we did some wandering tests at my company over 600 sq miles of area In the end AT&T won roughly equal service area and speeds and AT&T came in at 40% less a year in savings.

Re:Nice try (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222494)

Everywhere I've tried in tampa bay (Homosassa Springs, Hudson, New Port Richey, Clearwater, Saint Petersburg, Tampa) T-Mobiles EDGE has been faster than AT&T's 3G.

Google never stopped selling it's own phone... (1, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221872)

If memory serves, Google stopped directly selling HTC's phone that was designed to work on T-Mobile, and is letting the carriers themselves sell it directly. Google is not a hardware manufacturer.

Of course, I am getting old... so maybe it's my senility setting in and my recollection is incorrect. :-)

Re:Google never stopped selling it's own phone... (3, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222042)

Although you could say the same about the iPhone and Apple, since FoxConn manufactures that (and lots of other companies make the various components).

Google had significant design and engineering input into Nexxus One -- probably not as much as Apple has over iPhone, but still. Many if not most American tech companies outsource their manufacturing. If Google determines the specs and puts its brand on Nexxus One, in many senses that makes it "it's own" phone.

The carriers have won. (5, Insightful)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221874)

They've got the majority of America buying into the subsidy/contract system. The advantages of dropping $500 upfront on a phone aren't obvious to the layman phone buyer. Not when they get get an iPhone for $199 (despite the savings over time of going off contract).

People here know the advantages (and a few here probably bought the N1 from Google) but I think that mindset is going to be hard to change without a drastic drop in the initial cost of the hardware.

Re:The carriers have won. (2, Informative)

cervo (626632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221948)

For ATT there are no savings. And you can't port the ATT phone to T-Mobile and still get 3G. And Verizon/Sprint use a different technology.

For ATT you are always subsidizing a phone, there is no cheaper price for no contract. So by not having a phone you are throwing the subsidy dollars to waste. The only thing I can think of is finding the most subsidized phone, selling it on e-bay and then using the proceeds to buy the nexus one (in effect subsidizing one). T-Mobile does offer a discount for no contract so there it seems to make more economic sense to buy the Nexus unlocked and then save the money each month. After two years you will be ahead, and if you keep it longer then you make the phone an even better value.....

Re:The carriers have won. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222024)

Wait, what savings do you get over time from going off contract? Don't all carriers charge the same per month whether you got a new phone or not? AT&T sure didn't have a plan to give me a discount if I bought the phone outright.

Even More Plus (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222152)

Wait, what savings do you get over time from going off contract?

Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile has a discount [t-mobile.com] if you buy your phone up front.

Re:Even More Plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32223032)

Yeah, they just recently introduced that. But no other carrier has it.

Re:The carriers have won. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222198)

Yeah, I don't see any plan from any carrier which gives a "paid in full for phone" discount.

Though, this does seem to be the same argument of lease vs finance for cars. (ie: Do you want a new phone every few years, or do you keep phones until they break?)

Re:The carriers have won. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32223036)

Though, this does seem to be the same argument of lease vs finance for cars.

Show me any lease agreement and a good calculator and I'll show you why versus buying the same car, you will be spending more money leasing every time. The only way you will spend less on a lease is if the seller is intentionally losing money, i.e. not likely.

For the slow, pro tip: compare how much you paid after a 3 year lease vs selling a car you bought after 3 years and subtracting the proceeds from what you owe. If you think car dealers are in the business of making less money on leases, you == dumb.

Re:The carriers have won. (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222070)

If I ran the country (and I really think I should), carriers would not be allowed to bundle the phones. They can sell them with a monthly payment, but it must be separate from the cost of the plan, and in no way affect it. Bundling phones and locking people into long term plans discourages competition in a huge way. I'd like to see the carriers fighting for my business on a monthly basis, not every 2 or 3 years.

Re:The carriers have won. (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222424)

I agree. If they are going to give you the phone as a rent to own device then the phone payment should show up as a separate line item on the bill. Obviously the carriers don't want this because people will quickly realize how much they are paying for the phone over the 2 years and the carriers can't keep the same service rate even when the cost of the phone+interest has been recovered.

Carriers should be fighting for my business monthly or giving me really good deals to make me sign up for 1-2 years.

Re:The carriers have won. (3, Insightful)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222604)

If I ran the country (and I really think I should), carriers would not be allowed to bundle the phones.

Norway has a mobile market that works a lot better than the US, and here are a couple of key reasons why:

  • One common standard - GSM. This ensures competition, because a phone is compatible with all mobile operators. Thus, you get plans with and without subsidies ("bring your own phone"). In the US, you have different standards which makes switching operators harder
  • After the carrier subsidy period is over, they are mandated by law to unlock your phone if you ask. The phone is yours, you paid for it.
  • For consumers, the maximum contract length is 12 months. For businesses, 24 months. This typically means that the monthly rate go down after this period, as you could unlock it and leave otherwise
  • There also has to be a possibility for the customer to terminate this contract earlier, by paying a prorated fee.
  • You have plenty of Mobile Virtual Network Operators [wikipedia.org] , which increases the competition. As a condition of using a limited, public resource the mobile network operators have to accommodate them.

Competition is good, but sometimes you need to regulate to ensure a free market.

Re:The carriers have won. (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222664)

I'd vote for you. Fortunately it seems to be only America where the masses are quite so ignorant to the lie of the 'subsidy'. I have a feeling it is because you have so many different mobile technologies; if you change networks you'll generally have to buy a new phone anyway, so it is easier for the networks to force you to buy one.

Re:The carriers have won. (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32223030)

Yep. US buyers have to pay $200 + $60-$100/month for a decent phone, for "unlimited" voice & data, whether you want it or not. I'm amazed you haven't invoked your right to use those arms you bear yet.

Here (AU) I imported my Nexus One at full price, but I pay only $10/month for voice, texts & data, plus I added $5 for extra data, which (with wifi and voip) more than covers my needs. On contract I'd pay $0 + $60/m, so I'm saving nearly $500 and I can change plans or carriers or sell my phone for a new one at any time.

Obligatory Blade Runner Reference (4, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221886)

Google has announced that it will close its online cell phone store and no longer sell the Nexus One smart phone directly to consumers.

This was not called execution. It was called retirement.

Anti-Streisand Effect (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32221994)

Anti-Streisand: They announce something I never even knew was there is going away, and now that I've heard about it I want it: Inverse-publicity is still publicity.

But Business-wise this is still smart, and Intel have done the same thing before: Get into a market proving to others it's there, then step back to your core competency. It's an arguably longer term strategy than Apple's, which is to own everything. Even if that's working well for the iPhone, I seem to remember a certain Macintosh computer whose market share dwindled under the same strategy.

Where's the google innovation? (1)

j.a.mcguire (551738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222006)

This totally confuses me with Google, they come up with a world class search engine technology and yet constantly fail to dominate other market sectors and in the end, resort to buying out their competitors. Surely with all the talented staff at Google they could have realised early on that consumers would want a hands on trial, and customisable service plan options -- why not just offer these instead of giving up altogether?

Re:Where's the google innovation? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222256)

They're doing pretty good (better than MS) in the mobile market and their talented search engine staff won't necessarily know what to do for a mobile OS and they're busy on the search business anyway so Google would need to hire people or buy a company to fill the resourcing for developing a mobile OS. What is the real difference between them buying a company to incorporate into their company or buying up that company's talent and letting that company fall to the side?

No one has dominated search forever. Odds are Google won't either so they need to spread out but hopefully in a sensible way unlike Yahoo whom has just filled their homepage with a load of unnecessary shit. Google is at least getting into more sensible things. I think trying to do everything would be too much. If they offer superior pricing plans and more then they'll probably have to build the infrastructure too because who is going to work with Google and share their towers with someone who is cutting into their business and giving consumers more freedom?

Re:Where's the google innovation? (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222444)

The problem is that when you start doing retail you have to staff like a retail company. This means you now need a call center and CSRs and all of the management staff and capabilities around doing that. I can imagine that selling in retail is NOT something Google wants to be doing.

Re:Where's the google innovation? (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32223116)

That's because Google is trying the spaghetti on the wall approach to product development. They come up with something half-cooked, throw it against the wall to see what sticks.

Also don't forget that until Google got into the advertising business, they nearly went bankrupt in the early days. Since then they haven't come up with a single product that could stand on its own without being funded by the massive revenue stream from advertising.

Someone needs a history lesson (4, Informative)

cybereal (621599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222028)

I'm not sure which revisionist idiot informed the general OSS/Google fanboy world that selling unlocked phones directly to consumers was somehow innovating. Nokia has been doing this for years. I bought my last Nokia phone, the E70, well before even the iPhone was out directly via Nokia's website. You can still buy many Nokia products this way, including the venerable N900.

The prices may not always be the very best you can find but at least they are a trusted source.

Try before buy (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222170)

You can still buy many Nokia products this way, including the venerable N900.

But where can I try an N900? I walked into three different stores today and none of them had one. Given the price of return shipping and restocking fees, I prefer to try the display, keypad/touch screen, and hand feel of a phone before I spend over $500 for one.

Re:Try before buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222330)

That is wrong these days. You cant really touch a WORKING model in the stores, just plastic shit ones.
Mine 5800 was hard to find, but because it's cheap and "has it all" it took the win from iphone & nexus clearly.

Have you thinked a lifetime of a phone ? it's 2 year max. It's crasy to spend 600$ just for the HW of a phone (+ stupid far&beer toy for iphonists) in every 2 years!

iPhone floor models work (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222654)

That is wrong these days. You cant really touch a WORKING model in the stores, just plastic shit ones.

Every iPod and iPhone display model that I've seen in a store has been a working unit, not a gutted unit with no motherboard and a sticker for a screen.

Have you thinked a lifetime of a phone ? it's 2 year max.

Carriers who want to get you onto another contract after two years want you to think that. I've had my current dumb-phone for at least five years.

From an N900 user... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222506)

Seconded. Nokia simply keeps things reasonably open, moreso than the repackaged HTC phones.

The apps are out there, and you don't have to worry about stepping on someone's revenue stream(whether it be Google's or Apple's).

Re:Someone needs a history lesson (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222648)

Actually, here, in Europe, you can buy pretty much any model unlocked in phone shops since ... since forever. So really, selling unlocked phones directly is how it always was here.

Re:Someone needs a history lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222816)

I'm not sure which revisionist idiot informed the general OSS/Google fanboy world that selling unlocked phones directly to consumers was somehow innovating. Nokia has been doing this for years. I bought my last Nokia phone, the E70, well before even the iPhone was out directly via Nokia's website. You can still buy many Nokia products this way, including the venerable N900.

Stop ruining a good story with your wretched Facts and Real World Experience! This is Google we're talking about! Don't you know that everything they do is revolutionary? Sheesh!

Re:Someone needs a history lesson (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32223042)

You're missing the point. Even though they were unsuccessful, the N1 was slated to be available on all US carriers with a discount on at least one of them(T-Mo) if you bought it unlocked. There is no CDMA N900 and AFAIK. And up until now most carriers were not very friendly to the BYOP crowd. So the difference here is Google got them to warm up to the idea, even if just for a short (and ultimately unsuccessful) time.

So there was some significance to this. I'd actually counter that you're looking a bit more like the fanboy in not understanding it/complaining about it. Though I'll grant you the rhetoric that gets tossed around about how X company is gonna revolutionize Y industry is always a bit irritating, even when there is some truth to it.

I'm glad i got mine when i did (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222034)

I have some relatives who work at Google, so i got to play with their Nexus Ones while i was home for the holidays (obviously a marketing angle that didn't impact most people.) I was impressed with the phone, and equally impressed with the ability to buy the hardware upfront and get a cheaper no contract plan from T-Mobile. I ordered one from the website the first day they were available and i've been quite happy with it. (Okay, aside from the stupid "soft" home row keys. Going with those instead of real pressable buttons was a horrible idea, and i find it strange that manufacturers seem to be continuing to make the same stupid decision with newer models.)

I'm a little worried about this development though, even though i've already got mine. After the closure of the Google store how easy will it be to get unlocked phones in the future? The savings from the no contract data plan will have completely paid the difference for my phone somewhere between 4 and 18 months from now (depending on how i want to count it) so what happens when i decide i want to upgrade to whatever the latest and greatest is? I don't want to get locked into that whole subscriber model again.

Doesn't surprise me (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222038)

Compared to the Droid, the sales weren't all that great and they do raise the excellent point that many people want to be able to hold it before they commit to the purchase. Also, there are several other Android phones (e.g. Droid Incredible) that have been described as better than the Nexus One and available on a wider range of carriers. By the end of the summer, the Nexus One won't be state of the art as far as Android phones go so there's no real reason for them to continue selling it.

I imagine that they're working on a Nexus Two, so they'll eventually replace it with something else. Hopefully they get the customer service bugs worked out next time around, as that may be one of the potential reasons the device didn't sell as well as I expected it to sell.

Re:Doesn't surprise me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222158)

Google pointedly waited until after the majority of Droid sales died down to release their phone. They wanted to simply raise the bar for phone specs, not turn a profit with the phone - read it on their blog yourself. I would say they were successful if it's not state-of-the-art soon :)

Re:Doesn't surprise me (2, Informative)

donatzsky (91033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222272)

You may want to read the announcement [blogspot.com] again.
Actually they are going to keep selling it - just not directly, but through resellers. In fact it's scheduled to be released across Europe, through Vodafone, sometime soon.

Rumour has it that the Nexus Two is going to be a slider, made by Motorola, in the style of the Milestone/Droid.

This is why (5, Insightful)

Gunegune (815495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222044)

"Brick and Mortar" stores aren't going anywhere anytime soon. While there are many people who make almost all their purchases from online retailers, I find that most people would rather go to a B&M store for a purchase.

All of my friends and relatives make their purchases at B&M stores because they don't have to wait or pay for shipping, they can physically "preview" their purchase, they can pay in cash instead of a paying with a credit/debit card, and it's far easier to make a return on an item. The only reason I've known them to make an online purchase is for a SIGNIFICANT discount (books, hardware, etc.), though, many B&M stores have become very competitive with online retailers.

NOTE: I am referring to the purchase of physical items in my comment. Most of my friends make software purchases online (i.e. Steam).

Re:This is why (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222324)

"Brick and Mortar" stores aren't going anywhere anytime soon. While there are many people who make almost all their purchases from online retailers, I find that most people would rather go to a B&M store for a purchase.

All of my friends and relatives make their purchases at B&M stores because they don't have to wait or pay for shipping, they can physically "preview" their purchase, they can pay in cash instead of a paying with a credit/debit card, and it's far easier to make a return on an item. The only reason I've known them to make an online purchase is for a SIGNIFICANT discount (books, hardware, etc.), though, many B&M stores have become very competitive with online retailers.

NOTE: I am referring to the purchase of physical items in my comment. Most of my friends make software purchases online (i.e. Steam).

I'd say it's not just that certain people are more attracted to physical stores, as much as certain products attract people to physical stores. There is a lot of stuff that i will order online. Software, as you mentioned, is a good example. RAM and CPU's are also another great example. I don't really care about the physicality of a CPU. All CPU's compatible with my motherboard will be roughly the same size and weight. Same durability of the pins. Even the most extreme l33t case modder is probably not using a see-though heat sink, so the aesthetics of the CPU's appearance will never be important. Consequently, I have no real reason to seek out a physical store for that type of purchase. It's a physical product, but there's no aspect of the physicality that will influence my purchasing decision. So, ordering from newegg saves me a trip, and probably a few dollars.

In some cases, the heat sink to go on that CPU is a completely different story. If I'm building a special small form factor system, then I may want to hold up the cooler to the case and make sure I have enough room. Maybe double check that the cable for the fan power is long enough to route where I need to plug it in, etc. In that case, I'd almost certainly prefer to buy it in a physical store. Physical store saves me the hassle of returning to newegg, maybe ordering the wrong thing a second time, etc.

A phone is a thing where physicality is hugely important. Sure, you can read reviews and spec sheets. You could build an accurately sized model of the phone to test putting it in your pocket, and weight it to the correct mass. But, it's really easy and convenient to hold the phone, look at it, play with it, and see if it is something you want to look at and lug around all day.

I ordered my n900 from newegg, and it was terrifying. Was I going to like the keyboard? the screen? Would it really be convenient in my pocket? I hope the unlocked phone - direct sales model catches on, but the big players like nokia will really need to push themselves into general retail stores in order to pull it off.

Re:This is why (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32223078)

Traveling to stores and dealing with clerks is terrifying too. If online stores made returns easier maybe they would get the sales volume to be able to afford to do so.

Methof of sale a failure, Android is not (2, Interesting)

lanner (107308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222046)

While I it may be that their method of sale/distribution did not succeeded, the phone itself, and Android as an OS, is great. I've never owned a better phone.

There has been a lot of whining and griefing about the phone itself. I have no idea WTF all the complaints are about. I get great data and voice coverage (I hear TMobile isn't the best, but it satisfies me), and the only bug I've ever had is that the ringer sound will stop working about once a month -- I have to reboot.

All smartphones are flops in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222060)

Because carriers are fucking greedy bastards. Not everyone can afford $80 per month with lame caps and 3-years contracts.

The consumer had lost (2, Interesting)

notjustchalk (1743368) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222182)

This is really too bad. Up here in Canada, we're stuck with disgusting 3 year contracts (the 2 year ones have hardly any discount) with egregious profiteering (world's highest text msg prices for instance) and a culture of neglect after you've bought a phone from our oligopoly of carriers. The N1, expensive as it was, really was the best option for a good, unlocked, and free (as in freedom) smartphone. Any Android you get up here will assuredly be abandoned by the carriers - after all, new firmware means less sales according to the carrier. It really meant that the only consistently upgrade friendly Android phone was the N1.

Where I think Google failed was in not offering more choice like a certain fruit-labelled, obsessed-with-lock-in software maker. After all ~$500 for a phone, cheap though it may be over the long run, is a psychologically difficult barrier to overcome. I do believe, however, that having a few options that were cheaper (with appropriately pared down features) could have made it a more profitable venture. Sadly, I would have bought an N1 in the near future, but now it looks like I'll be sticking with my dumbphone.

Furthermore, trusting people to make buying decisions on long term fiscal calculations (without any assistance), might have been ambitious in retrospect. Maybe putting a cost calculator on the N1 website might have helped?

disappointed (1)

shooteur (1559845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222206)

Didn't even make it to Australia. Looking for a replacement for my Nokia 5800 (Great phone, but nothing from Nokia in regards to accessories and being almost ignored a month or two past it's original sale here), I was interested in seeing this phone making it to Australia for sale, outright free from a plan, Android phone with dedicated support from Google. Instead, we have the HTC Desire (a Nexus One with a few extra buttons, exclusive to one carrier here), which will probably be a flavour of the month phone, until the next HTC is pimped out. It's been the same with a few other smart phones getting ignored here. As a result I've sold out to the Fruit Phone, outright, on the basis of it won't be a flavour phone of the month by the manufacture, and pretty much rules the accessory market. I was hoping the Google would of done the same with the Nexus One, along the lines of the fruit company.

Not a failure in one aspect: Unlocked (3, Insightful)

Rog7 (182880) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222248)

As a high-profile unlocked phone, the Nexus One has seemed to have had an effect on carriers here in Canada.

Bell, Telus and Rogers have all been friendly about just putting a SIM card into the Nexus One and using it. I don't know if it's been an official policy at these carriers or not, but previously getting an unlocked phone onto anything but prepaid has been a pain, I was often met with resistance at the stores ("Oh no, you can't do that").

Now, even with other unlocked phones, the stores have been a lot more receptive about getting you on their network.

It may not have sold in spectacular numbers and many consumers have no clue it exists, but the reps in the stores know this phone very well.

Re:Not a failure in one aspect: Unlocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32222624)

That was Roger's way of doing things. The agent had the nerve to give me the excuse that they don't know me as a reason that I had to have a contract. As if my reputation was as sullied as theirs is.
I ended up going to Fido who is owned by them.

I used to be with Bell but had switched to Fido for the unlocked phone feature. At the time, Bell and Telus did not have the technology for SIM cards. That changed thanks in part to the Winter Olympics I believe as they wanted to be ready for the incoming people from all over the world that would want to put a sim card in they're unlocked phones.

So it's not a situation that was changed by the arrival of the Nexus One.

Re:Not a failure in one aspect: Unlocked (2, Informative)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222676)

If it's GSM you don't need your network's approval to use an unlocked phone. At least, not in any sane country.

Opening to other markets would have helped? (2, Informative)

dindi (78034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222266)

Well, maybe if most people would not have gotten the "not available in your country or region", most people would have ordered online. I wanted one, and I am happy I did not: I tried a colleague's Nexus one, and found to phone to be ... well .. not satisfactory...

While Android is a cool thing, after an iPhone all HTC phones feel like cheap plasticky toys. And do not even get me started on the touch screen.

I am in the search for a 850Mhz HSDPA Android phone for some time and haven't found a unit that even remotely challenges the iPhone's quality. Maybe when idroidproject advances a little I can have my 2G running Android....

The 'unlocked' price was too high... (1)

cowmix (10566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222300)

I have to imagine that if the unlocked price was below $400 (or even the price of a locked phone) it would of sold like hot cakes but unfortunately I think Google had too many external pressures to that prevented them from pricing it accordingly.

Instead, Google *flooded* the net with ads for the N1 hoping their marketing muscle would overcome all other obstacles.

Re:The 'unlocked' price was too high... (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222686)

Yeah like, the fact that the phone costs more than $400.

You *always* pay full price for the phone. To phone companies, 'subsidy' is another word for 'monthly payment plan'.

Re:The 'unlocked' price was too high... (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222756)

Materials cost alone for smartphones runs $150-200. Factor in R&D, manufacturing, freight/shipping, support, general cost of doing business (insurance, attorneys, ...), 15-20% profit margin, and a $400 price tag starts looking impractical.

Make no mistake, the price of a subsidized phone really _is_ heavily subsidized. For smartphones, carriers usually pay the manufacturer $200-300 over what they charge the customer up-front, and that's _after_ they've negotiated volume discounts.

Re:The 'unlocked' price was too high... (2, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222822)

Actually, due to the reduced monthly fee with T-Mobile if you bought the phone unlocked, after 2 years savings the phone would cost around $55 - so about $145 LESS than if you bought the phone subsidized by a 2-year contract. The real reason for the "failure" you speak of is that the overwhelming majority of Americans suck at math.

Just in time (1)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222398)

Ordered mine last week, got it in Wednesday. Very lucky, as it's not a bad phone in the slightest.

Real Issue (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222434)

Look, here's the real issue. If you bring your own phone in the US, you pay the same price as everyone else. In the EU almost everyone brings their own phone by buying one outright because monthly plans are MUCH cheaper that way. Only idiots or uneducated fools agree to 2 year contracts for smartphones because you end up paying much, much more per month and over the lifetime of the contract.

The US carriers have brainwashed people into thinking they're getting a "subsidy" with the 2 year contract. They're not: it's a LOAN for the phone that you must pay huge interest rates on. There are two problems with this:

1. Invoices do not break down the monthly plans to show the cost of that loan, so there's no way to know how much you're actually spending over 2 years on the phone.

2. People who bring their own phone and thus don't need the loan, *still have to pay for the loan*.

The first point is important because people have no way of knowing that they're being gouged by carriers with unwanted loan schemes.

The second point is important in that this is extortion, and is illegal. The government is simply too weak-kneed to take on the telecom industry. As a consequence there is absolutely no incentive to bring your own phone in the US or buy them outright. In Europe buying outright saves you thousands of dollars over two years. In the US it does nothing for you. Americans thus make the rational economic choice by going for the contracts.

If you're going to bypass the carriers ... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222446)

If you're going to bypass the carriers then why not actually sell the phones to the customers who want them. I'm inclined to say that some of the people who would have tried the online store would have been the ones who's local carriers aren't offering the Nexus One.

Just like here in Australia where Vodafone have been "planning" to release this phone since it was frigging announced. I got sick of waiting so I checked out google's online store. "This product is not available in your location". Well great. Thanks a lot. Spent my money on beer instead.

Needed for AT&T (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222516)

The Nexus one is needed for AT&T. Currently the only phone running Android is the crappy Motorola Backflip which doesn't even have Google as a search engine and is intentionally crippled, let alone the terrible hardware.

T-Mobile has a good selection, Verizon a great selection and Sprint has several great phones. AT&T however, is crap.

humm (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222588)

well if they still offer the nexus one on every career then there still doing what they wanted to do. or a better way is not to allow careers to lock the phone. so your still buying a unlocked phone just with a contract if you like.

Expansys (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222592)

I assume online retailers will continue to sell the phones unlocked. I will never again buy another phone which tells me what network I can use it on despite it's technical ability to connect to other networks. I wish the practice of locking phones would be banned in every country. It works out much cheaper for me since I can get SIM-only contracts or if I get sick of those go back to prepaid which is only marginally more expensive.

Phone service in the USA sucks, I get 250mb data and 50 minutes for 15 eur a month and if I'm close enough to a decent Node B I can use the 250MB to make calls using the pre-installed Nokia SIP client which would likely have been removed if I had bought the phone through a network.

I'd Buy The Phone (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32222640)

I'd have actually considered buying the Nexus One except for a couple of issues. The first was that tethering (Something a Nokia E70 I purchased over five years ago was able to do easily) was left out. I don't want to browse the web on a fucking postage-stamp-sized screen on a cellphone when I could be doing it on my laptop. Second, the Nexus One was already being overshadowed by newer HTC phones, some of which allow the kind of tethering I want to do (Albeit at a price.) All of that made the package rather underwhelming.

I'm eying Sprint's HTC phone as a very possible migration path off my first generation Iphone. Android looks good, and the development platform looks like it's well thought-out. It would be nice to have a cell phone that could deliver a web page faster than the local sandwich joint could deliver a sandwich, whether or not I'm using my laptop to browse it.

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