Let's cut to the chase. Google is going to offer the Nexus One in traditional retail outlets. While they were trying to be innovative in offering the phone exclusively through their google.com/phone website, Andy Rubin (VP of engineering for Android) himself writes today that sales have been less than stellar and that users want to play with a phone before they buy it.

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. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from.

So today we’re announcing the following changes:

More retail availability. As we make Nexus One available in more countries we’ll follow the same model we’ve adopted in Europe, where we're working with partners to offer Nexus One to consumers through existing retail channels. We’ll shift to a similar model globally.

From retail to viewing. Once we have increased the availability of Nexus One devices in stores, we'll stop selling handsets via the web store, and will instead use it as an online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally.

Innovation requires constant iteration. We believe that the changes we're announcing today will help get more phones to more people quicker, which is good for the entire Android ecosystem: users, partners and also Google.

No word yet on availability. [the Official Google Blog]


Reader comments

Nexus One coming to retail stores as Google admits web strategy didn't work


You want a cdma version ? What's stopping you ? Go get the Droid incredible . It's the same phone only much better and faster ! I sold my N1 for the incredible , its a better phone hands down !

You want a cdma version ? What's stopping you ? Go get the Droid incredible . It's the same phone only much better and faster ! I sold my N1 for the incredible , its a better phone hands down !

Oh my goodness...I have never seen the Google-Monster cave at anything, but abandoning the online store model....bound to happen.

Many have been clamoring for this since the phone was released. Some may see it as a failure, but I think it was smart for Google to take stock of how things were (were not) working and change course. It will be interesting to see what carriers will take the device. T-Mobile is, obviously, first in line. Let's see if AT&T will allow the device in the store...as is.

Will they take it in store? I'm sure it's a possibility. Not totally likely though.

Will they take it as is? Absolutely not. No chance in hell. They would make sure it is locked down so tight and mount it up on the wall right next to the Backflip.

I can see Steve Jobs now, asking AT&T "So what...the fu**...is this? It's not an iPhone, that's for da** sure! I am pretty sure this is or true competitor we are in the process of suing right now."

Case in point, AT&T is very unlikely to have this.

It will be interesting to see what carriers will take the device.

Who said anything about carriers?

I see this as Car Toys, Best Buy, Mall-resellers, and maybe a few small regional carriers. Essentially anyone with brick and mortar.

Who said anything about carriers?

I did. All those stores you listed are still beholden to carriers actually allowing the devices on their networks. That is what I'm talking about. Unless I've been asleep for a while, there are not phones in Best Buy that are not found in the carriers stores.

Best Buy does have a selection (although small) of unlocked/unbranded GSM phones. Or at least they did. Haven't checked since last year.

Which carriers who have radio-compatible networks have denied Nexus One access?

Answer: Doesn't happen.

It took them long enough to figure it out. If they had done it sooner they may not have lost Verizon and Sprint.

Once this shows up in stores, the majority of people who see it will think it's a brand new phone (even though it's been out for 4 months and counting). I'd expect to see a dramatic increase in N1 sales.

Translation: We have a bunch of Nexus ones that we dont know WTF to do with since every carrier has refused to sell them.

I would have really wanted a Nexus but HTC keeps these new devices surpassing the Nexus on a daily basis. I settled on VZW with an incredible. ;)

You act as this is a bad thing for Google, it isn't, and neither is HTC making improvements to the base idea a bad thing too

prince = price

I was being sarcastic too before. I wanted to make that clear.

I'm a big google fan. I think admitting fault is a beautiful thing that many people/compaines dont have the guts to do.

I didnt say it was a bad thing, i just meant the only real way to sell the Nexus is through a carrier. The majority of the population is not going to pay full prince for a phone.

If this actually happens... T-Mobile will get it first. It will be their highest level Android phone for sure. I know a lot of T-Mobile users are looking for something beyond the CLIQ, CLIQ XT and the myTouch 3G and Slider. This will be a big deal for T-Mobile without question.

As far as Google is concerned... my 9 year old daughter could have told them the initial marketing plan was a complete misfire. Get with it Google... you don't have all the answers!

Kudos to Google - both for trying a new idea and giving it a chance to work, and for realizing that it wasn't working and having the guts to admit it and move on.

Not really. Anyone could have foreseen that this would fail before they even launched it. Consumers won't drop that kind of money on something that can pick up, touch, and play with. Walk in to an Apple store and watch how many people are playing with iPhones.

Doesn't take a genius to see this model was doomed from the start.

Nope, not doomed. Premature perhaps, but doomed?

This is the way of the future.

You don't buy your computer from Microsoft, you don't buy your TV from NBC or CBS. You might shop in stores, but you are just as likely to order a computer or a TV on-line.

They called Michael Dell and idiot too...


It takes way too long to get a new phone onto UK network/store shelves. In the case of the N1, that was over 4 months.

The Google store process was quick and easy, and I received it less than a week after it became available.

Damn, I hate the fact that I have to buy at some retail establishment, I wish they would continue direct sales in addition to retail outlets.

After you've seen one, you really have no need to fondle it prior your second purchase. I'd rather get it direct than have to deal with Joe Acne at Car Toys, or where-ever.

Still, this excellent phone has suffered from their web-exclusive sales, and the fact that they are lining up retail couldn't help but spur sales.

Just don't let them brand them and start installing crapware on them.

Hopefully this will come to stores like BestBuy. I've been holding off picking one up because no one I know has one and I need to see it first hand. If this rolls into stores with 2.2 installed, demoing flash, it's all over. My wife, and all her friends, play Farmville and that will be the killer app for them.

I'm on T-Mo and didn't get the N1 because of the price tag (and I didn't qualify for discount cause of my family plan). I'm waiting for a 1 GHZ Android phone that I can get for $200 with contract. I guess either N1, Galaxy S, or Dell phone...so many choices which is a good thing.

On VZW and wanted this one, however, got the Incredible and don't want N1 anymore. Wouldn't buy it after having the Incredible.

i wouldn't be surprised if the Nexus One would end up not selling anymore units due to the Incredible and the Evo4G both on the CDMA networks. So maybe the next Nexus would be in stores for customers to actually get there hands on it

I wonder if the retail stores will enable their own "terms" so that if someone bought the phone and cancelled they would have to pay the carriers ETF and another to the store? That way they could avoid the $500 price tag. The retailers would also get that at a discounted price too.

As of two weeks ago there's still a bug on the store where if you leave the middle initial field blank you get an error telling you to try again later. (that field is marked optional.)

If you soldiered on and found your way to the forums you'd eventually be told to put something in the middle initial field and then it would work. and it did.

gotta wonder how much better the phone might have done if a really stupid and easy to fix error with the ordering process had been resolved.

I really thought Google was smarter than that. The web strategy is fine if you also included the phone in the retail stores. Really, people want to see the physical phone over just one online. Definitely would have had more sales if you could purchase in store. Also, Google should have picked a better cell phone service than T-Mobile.

This has been a long time coming. Google was out of its element here and they are probably loaded down with phones right now that need a new home.

Problem is that any smart shopper these days does their research. A quick look on the web is going to pull up all those problems the phone has and does have. The other problem with the phone is the price. This phone is worth no more then $400 at best and subsidized should be $150 on the high side. It may be a high end phone but its not without problems. The plus to having it in stores is actually being able to bypass HTC and get issues handles with a trip to the store.

This could be good for retail stores but Google may have to give in to demands and play nice. Trying to take control and leaving carriers out in the cold during its launch is going to make things interesting now. The carrier has the upper hand and can just not carry it if they do not get what they want. Time will tell I guess.

The CDMA topic was interesting. Know one knows if there was ever one made from what I have seen. If it hasn't then there is no point now. Its dead tech which the two major CDMA carriers going to wimax and lte. Guess they could always make a cricket N1. The little green guy matches their theme perfect...lol

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i've played with the incredible about 10 times now, extensively, and i think a lot of people that have never held the nexus one dont quite understand how good of a build quality it has. the incredible feels like a lightweight plastic toy compared to the nexus. nexus has a metal body, teflon coated rubberized back, etc. and when held side by side, i would pick the nexus on EVERY TIME over the incredible.

i mean the phones are so similar, same RAM, CPU and screen, etc. the 8MP camera isnt a huge deal, and the internal 8GB memory is the same as having the SD card in the nexus. so all those things equal, nexus wins every time IMO. i mean, its a REALLY big difference in build quality. the nexus feels like a solid work of art, literally.

oh and i hate the optical trackpad with a passion. the trackball is so much more useful as the distance it scrolls is leagues faster and further than the trackpad. plus the color LED notifications on trackball FTW!!

Don't forget that the Droid Incredible has a better digitizer so multi touch actually works well. The Nexus One multi touch is fine for pinch to zoom but once you try to play games that use multi touch you're screwed over. I so badly want to play Gameboid on my N1 but the multi touch problems make it impossible.

One of the main reasons I got the N1, was to be able to be 1st in line when it came to updates. Will this affect that in any way? Will Google now relinquish that job to the carriers, or will current N1 owners still receive their updates first?

Like I said on the podcast chat, a failed experiment. You will think that one of the smart people at google would have realized this was doomed from the start.

Haha...I could have told google that when they first said they were gonna do it...I certainly dont want to buy a phone that I cant hold and test first...just not smart...glad they are coming to their senses...

Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but depending on when the N1 makes it's way into stores, It may go in preloaded with Froyo, giving it some kind of a unique edge to it. Assuming it goes in locked down to a carrier

I really hope this means I can get real insurance on my Nexus One, I have the insurance right now where you need to pay like $130 for a new Nexus One if it gets lost, stolen, or damaged but $130 is alot of money if your trackball just breaks.

The N1 was destined to be a slow seller for 2 main reasons:

1. Price: Not many people can afford to plunk down the amount they were asking for it. And tmobile isn't known for very good coverage so there weren't going to be an influx of people just for the subsidized version.

2. No way to try before buying: word of mouth and reviews are nice, but not being able to play with the thing befor buying is a big no no, especially for an expensive phone.

Now that the other big carriers have more capable phones like the Incredible, Evo and soon the Galaxy S, there'll be a lot less demand for the n1. What Google needs is a follow up phone to better compete, an N2 perhaps?

And for the people talking down the Incredible because it's plastic? Please! I played with one myself and it's a very well put together phone. Metal is overrated IMO. The 8mp camera and tv out capabilities are also added bonuses.