Google To Shutter Nexus One Store

Google's experiment as an Android phone retailer has come to an end with the announcement it plans to shut down the Nexus One Android Web store and will sell its HTC-designed phone in the retail outlets of the two carriers it has left.

Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), announced the news in a blog posting. He admitted the Nexus One Web store hasn't worked out as well as the company had hoped.

"We launched Nexus One in January with two goals in mind: to introduce a beacon of innovation among Android handsets, and to make it quick and easy for people to buy an Android phone," Rubin wrote.

"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," he added.

Google figured out what many analysts said from day one: consumers "like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from."

Google was initially going to make the phone available on all four major U.S. carriers, but Verizon and Sprint have both backed out. Verizon went with the well-received Droid Incredible while Sprint is throwing its lot behind the EVO 4G, the first 4G phone on the market.

Regardless of the phone name, HTC wins: it makes all three phones,the Nexus One, Incredible and EVO 4G.

Once the device is on the shelves of various brick-and-mortar stores, the Nexus One Web store will shut down. The URL-google.com/phone-will instead become a showcase of "a variety of Android phones available globally," with no direct purchasing options in place.

"The Nexus One was a victim of two failed experiments: to create a single model on all four carriers and offering it exclusively online. By partnering with carriers, Google will be able to turn its own handsets into more viable products, but ones that compete more directly with other Android device makers," Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for consumer technology at The NPD Group, told InternetNews.com.

But he does not think this will bring Verizon and Sprint back.

"With the availability of the Droid Incredible and the EVO 4G, handset design has moved past the Nexus One," he added.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

TAGS:

Google, Android, Verizon, mobile IT, nexus one

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