On the heels of Goldman Sachs cutting its sales forecast for the Nexus One -- which at the time of this writing is easily one of the top five phones HTC-manufactured phones available -- we're already seeing headlines (at ZDNet) that "Google's online-only phone selling model has failed."
Let's back up. According to Electronista, Goldman predicted about 3.5 million Nexus Ones to be sold by the end of 2010. Now, a little more than two months into the year, Goldman says "just" 1 million phones will be sold. That's not a lot of phones in the scheme of things as Verizon reportedly sold more than a half-million Motorola Droids in its first month. (And it follows a rather suspect prediction of just 20,000 Nexus Ones sold in the first month.)
But the Nexus One didn't see your normal smartphone launch. It's not sold in stores. Its only advertising has been online -- that's not negligible, but neither is it anywhere near as visible as the marketing push we've seen behind the Droid, which continues on television, online and in magazines today.
Here's a news flash for you, courtesy of our friends at Goldman Sachs:
"We assume that Google rolls out a second Nexus handset, markets it more aggressively, and makes it available offline, and therefore forecast that Google sells 2 million handsets per year in 2011 and future years."
Wait, you mean to tell me a company will sell more of something if it puts it in an actual physical store and throws more marketing dollars at it? Great ghost of John Maynard Keynes, methinks they're onto something.
Seriously, the only company that can decide whether the Nexus One launch -- we'll even go so far as to call it an experiment -- is Google, and HTC, we suppose. They know how many were ordered. If as many or more have been sold than first thought, it's a success. If less were sold than originally anticipated, it's been a failure.
Regardless, we got a pretty darn good phone out of it, customer service mistakes, misguided analysts or not.