Google nixes Nexus One
In retrospect, maybe it was a mistake to give a phone a name reminiscent of the line of "replicant" androids hunted down in the movie Blade Runner.
It's now time to die for the Nexus One, Google's ambitious attempt to revolutionize the smart phone market by selling directly to customers. In a blog post blandly titled "Update: Nexus One changes in availability" -- and published with traditional bad-news-dump Friday-afternoon timing -- Google announced that it had received its last shipment of Nexus One phones and would stop selling the phone online once that allotment ran out.
Some carriers will continue to sell the Nexus One overseas, but U.S. consumers will be out of luck: T-Mobile, the one carrier to support it directly, doesn't sell the device on its own site.
Google's quick surrender, which came after Verizon and Sprint abandoned plans for their own versions of the Nexus One, makes this device the second-fastest phone flameout of 2010 after Microsoft's ill-fated Kin. And that's really too bad.
Although the Nexus One didn't live up to breathless forecasts when it arrived with support for only T-Mobile's mobile-broadband service, it was still a stylish and powerful piece of work.
Newer Android models like the Verizon's HTC Droid Incredible and Sprint's Evo 4G are either as thin as the Nexus One or offer features absent from Google's phone, but they also come with carrier-selected applications bolted in place -- a depressing instance of telecom companies adopting the very worst habits of the PC industry. The Nexus One also offered substantial savings over time for users who bought one at Google's unsubsidized price of $529 and then signed up for T-Mobile's cheaper, subsidy-free "Even More Plus" plans.
Now it's back to the carrier-controlled model of phone design and distribution -- except for the iPhone, where only Apple gets a say in the device's features and software. Do you think that's ever going to change in this country?
July 19, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories: Mobile , Telecom
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