Google is shutting down the online store it launched with much fanfare in January to sell the Nexus One smartphone, the technology giant said on Friday.
Google had hoped the direct sales initiative for what was widely called the “Google phone” would launch a new business model for the U.S. cellphone industry, by persuading buyers to purchase phones independently from the major carriers. Currently the vast majority of cellphone purchases are subsidized by the carriers in return for customers locking in to a two year contract.
But in a blog posting Friday, Andy Rubin, who heads Google’s smartphone efforts, admitted the initiative had not worked out as planned. “We launched Nexus One in January with two goals in mind: to introduce a beacon of innovation among Android handsets, and to make it quick and easy for people to buy an Android phone,” Mr. Rubin wrote.
“But, 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.” The phone will continue to be available for a subsidized fee via cellphone carrier T-Mobile.
Dozens of other phones running the Android operating system are available from other carriers. The website at google.com/phone will become a showcase for a variety of phones running Google’s Android operating system, Mr. Rubin said.