Nexus One to be Verizon's Next Mobile Device?

A new report claims that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has begun to ship a CDMA-ready version of the Nexus One phone to Google, which could mean the search giant is ready to bring its Android phone to Verizon Wireless.

The article first ran in the Chinese-language newspaper Economic Daily News and was picked up by the English-language, Taiwan-based Web site DigiTimes, which said the Nexus One is on its way to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) for launch later this month, or in April at the latest.

Rumors had previously circulated of a March 23 launch for the device on Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile carrier. All that's on the record from Google, however, is plans for a Verizon debut sometime in "spring 2010."

Google did not respond to requests for comment.

In addition to Verizon, Google is also believed to be preparing an AT&T Android phone as well. DigiTimes also said that the Nexus One will start shipping to Vodafone in Europe, and that HTC will announce a Windows Phone 7 high-definition smartphone soon, for launch in Asia.

Focus on Google's Nexus One Strategy

If the Nexus One is headed to Google but isn't intended for Verizon stores, then it's clear that Google will be continuing its policy of selling the phone directly off its own Web site. This is the same strategy it employed in January for the launch of the Nexus One -- which is available both without a carrier and in connection with T-Mobile -- and which many industry observers see as having come up short in comparison to in-store sales of devices like the Android-based Motorola Droid.

While official details are scant on the Nexus One's sales, the smartphone is believed to have shipped about 80,000 units in its first month, according to mobile market researcher Flurry. Meanwhile, the Droid sold about 250,000 units in its first week of sales, according to Flurry.

While Flurry hasn't updated its initial report on the Nexus One, other observers are also pointing to sluggish sales of the device. Last week, Goldman Sachs published a research note in which it cut its estimates of Nexus One sales in 2010 by 70 percent, to just one million units.

The problem may be due to a lack of promotion. Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analyst, has criticized Google's marketing strategy compared to the way Amazon promotes its Kindle e-book reader, while GigaOM has also joined in, agreeing that Nexus One needs to garner more attention to succeed.

"Google's promotion of its flagship device consisted largely of a placing a modest link on its home page, and carriers -- which are rightly terrified of their brands being elbowed out of the way -- have only minimally backed the gadget. Worse, the phone is available only through Google's online store, which most smartphone shoppers surely don’t even know exists," Om's Colin Gibbs wrote .

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


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