Hi all,

It turns out that the Nexus One wasn't as much of a dud as we thought!

Take care,

Jay

A flop with consumers, sold-out Nexus One scores with developers
Fri Aug 20, 4:50 pm ET

A flop with consumers, sold-out Nexus One scores with developers - Yahoo! News

Google tried — and ultimately failed — to turn the U.S. wireless market upside-down by selling its supercharged Nexus One Android phone online, with minimal help from the big carriers. But now, months after shuttering its online storefront for the phone, the Nexus One is a sudden, improbable hit.

Who’s buying the Nexus One, you ask? Android developers, that’s who — and apparently, they’re so eager to get their mitts on the eight-month-old handset that Google supply of Nexus One phones for developers is completely sold out.

So says a post on Google’s Android developers blog (via TechCrunch), with Google’s Tim Bray writing that Google "blew through the (substantial) initial inventory in almost no time," adding that Nexus One manufacturer HTC is busy trying to crank out more of the suddenly gotta-have handsets.

Google launched the Nexus One — described in hushed tones as the "Google Phone" in the days and weeks before its official unveiling — way back in January, and the search behemoth caused quite a stir by offering the Android 2.1-powered handset only on the Web, through Google’s own Nexus One online storefront.

Why all the fuss? Because usually it’s the big carriers (think AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless) who do the heavy lifting in terms of marketing and selling cell phones, both online and (mainly) in brick-and-mortar stores. While it got a little help from T-Mobile, which subsidized the Nexus One for use on its network, Google’s decision to go it virtually alone with the Nexus One — with practically no marketing help from a carrier—was seen as a potentially game-changing move.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be anything but. Sales of the Nexus One never took off, and an unprepared Google — which, before the Nexus One launch, had little need for a bank of customer-service reps — found itself quickly overwhelmed by customers complaining about iffy 3G reception (which ultimately led to a patch) and other assorted glitches.

Consumers were also underwhelmed by the less-than-revolutionary $179 two-year contract price and $529 price tag for an unlocked Nexus One, while existing T-Mobile users were turned off by the $379 upgrade price for the phone (which was eventually cut by $100). Last May, Google finally waved the white flag, announcing that it would close down its online Nexus One store.

So yes, Google learned the hard way that nothing beats a "full-court press by a big national carrier" (as I wrote back in May) when it comes to selling a smartphone. But here’s the thing: The well-reviewed Nexus One itself wasn’t a bad phone — indeed, it was (and still is) a pretty good one, complete with a 3.7-inch AMOLED screen, a 1GHz "Snapdragon" processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 5-megapixel camera with a flash.

The Nexus One also happened to be among the first handsets to get an update to Android 2.2 — a fact that clearly wasn’t lost on enthusiastic Android developers, who’ve been able to buy the unlocked Nexus One — in droves, apparently — direct from Google for a few weeks now.

In any case, Google is now in the strange but surely satisfying position of "working hard on re-stocking" (as Google’s TIm Bray puts it) a smartphone that looked all but dead just a few months ago. Strange, but true.

Google’s Android developers blog: A Little Too Popular (via TechCrunch)

— Ben Patterson is a technology writer for Yahoo! News.