Google has announced that it’s abandoning its attempt to sell Android handsets direct to consumers from its own webstore.
The company launched the site to sell its Nexus One handset early this year. The idea was that people would buy the phone and then choose an operator price plan.
Well, it didn’t work out so well. Sales of the Nexus One have been slow, and in Europe it’s now being sold through Vodafone in the traditional way.
In fairness, Google’s VP of engineering Andy Rubin hasn’t danced around the subject in his blog post announcing the webstore’s closure:
"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."
For now, Google will continue to sign carrier deals for the Nexus One, which will be sold in (real-world) stores. Meanwhile, the Google.com/phone site will become a showcase for Android phones.
"Innovation requires constant iteration," writes Rubin. 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."