|By Maureen O'Gara||
|May 18, 2010 09:15 PM EDT||
Having alienated carriers like Sprint and Verizon by trying to sell its Android-based Nexus One phone direct to the consumer from its google.com/phone online store - Google's attempt to change the traditional cell phone sales model - it's killing the four-month-old store, describing it as merely "niche channel for early adopters," meaning its sales have been paltry.
It swears it's because "many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from."
Google was trying to sell a Nexus One for $529 without a contract or a subsidized $179 with a two-year T-Mobile contract. T-Mobile was the only carrier to back Google's play.
Although Verizon and Sprint canceled their Nexus One phones earlier this month, Google says it's going to push the HTC-made Nexus One through other people's retail stores and use its site to promote a "variety of Android phones available globally."
It says the store will die when alternate distribution is set up.
Meanwhile, it says that the "global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations" and NPD's latest numbers reported last week say Android phone outsold Apple's iPhone in the first quarter.
The researcher gives Android handsets 28% of smartphone sales to Apple's 21%, which may be one of the reasons Apple is suing HTC as a stand-in for Google. The Blackberry was still on top with 36%.
Verizon is reportedly supposed to pick up the next-generation iPhone due out next month, a move that could change the breakdown.
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