Why did the Google's Nexus One Phone fail?

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Rated as one of the best phones on the market, second only to iPhone according to some, the Google Phone, the own-brand Nexus One has been officially discontinued in the US. It’s still available to buy, but Google have put in their last order to HTC, so the phone will only be available while only while stocks last. Err, and will actually be available in Europe indefinitely.

It was a critical success but a commercial failure with only 135,000 units sold in the time it took Apple to sell 1million iPhones.

Why? Three reasons:

1) The average consumer just doesn’t connect Google with mobile phones. Android is a very successful platform, but Android phones aren’t sold on their Google OS, they’re HTC phones or Samsung phones. Lots of people still think Google’s just a search engine, and though geeks are vocal, they’re not a huge market segment.

2) Only sold online. People like to hold things in their hands before they buy them, especially if it’s a big purchase. And they like to have deals stitched up for them.

3) No advertising. Of course if you google it, it’s top result.. but look at the effort Apple spends on adverts on TV, in papers, plastered all over stations. Phones are prestige items. If no-one’s heard of your handset, it’s a factor against buying one. Sure maybe Apple ODs on the hype and cult-like press conferences, but hell at least everybody has heard of them.

Even a partnership with Vodafone didn’t seem to rescue the fortunes of the phone. Still seeing as the discontinued bit won’t kick in for a few months at least – if you want an Android handset, this is one of the best ones going.

Buy the Nexus One here

Anna Leach

5 comments

  • Just like the Palm Pre, the Nexus One project clearly demonstrates that you absolutely need to market products. Marketing hype is the best way to sell.

    T Mobile didn’t even have Nexus One units on hand to showcase, and Verizon and Sprint said “No thanks” to the Nexus One. When the Nexus One finally came to AT&T, the cost wasn’t subsidized. So if you wanted a proven 3G carrier with more than spotty coverage, you had to pay a fortune for the device.

    Google’s reputation had nothing to do with the failure. Limited distribution channels, super expensive costs to consumers, and the worst marketing ever killed the phone.

  • i’m not certain we are seeing this from the correct angle. Google have stated that the Nexus was made to push the manufacturers towards the sort of hardware Google wanted in the market. now they may have just said this to hide behind poor sales, but if its true, then this phone was a complete success.
    we now have many phones on the market all with 1ghz chips, sharp screens of decent sizes in a form factor that is pleasing on the eye etc….
    if we did not have the Nexus, then would we today have the EVO 4, or the new samsung galaxy options or the desire?
    granted they would have arrived, but possibly not until further down the line

  • i’m not certain we are seeing this from the correct angle. Google have stated that the Nexus was made to push the manufacturers towards the sort of hardware Google wanted in the market. now they may have just said this to hide behind poor sales, but if its true, then this phone was a complete success.
    we now have many phones on the market all with 1ghz chips, sharp screens of decent sizes in a form factor that is pleasing on the eye etc….
    if we did not have the Nexus, then would we today have the EVO 4, or the new samsung galaxy options or the desire?
    granted they would have arrived, but possibly not until further down the line

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