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What’s to Blame for Lackluster Nexus One Sales?

In the month leading up to the announcement of the Nexus One, rumors and speculation were at an all-time high for any Android device.  It was the kind of free press that any company would be lucky to get.  After glowing reviews came in one after another, it seemed the Nexus would be a far bigger hit than last year’s Droid.

Flurry, a venture-back firm in San Francisco that specializes in mobile research based on application penetration estimated the first week sales of the Nexus One at a meager 20,000 units.  Comparatively, the myTouch 3G released in August last year sold three times as many units as Google’s Nexus One.  The Motorola Droid has seen the most impressive sales numbers, pushing out over 250,000 devices within the first week of launch.  What happened?

flurrynexusoneestimates

One factor that probably played a significant role in the Droid’s success was its marketing campaign.  Motorola’s handset was hyped with teaser ads well before its release, pitting it directly against the iPhone in the now famous “iDon’t” campaign.  With a $100 million advertising budget, the Droid forced its way into the market garnering positive reviews as the best Android handset on the market.  The myTouch 3G too was heavily promoted by T-Mobile in a series of commercials featuring well-known celebrities.  Per Google’s strategy, the Nexus One only saw advertising through the internet, most notably on their homepage.

The other possible cause for the device’s low adoption could be attributed to the way in which customers purchase the device.  Both the myTouch 3G and Droid were both available at their respective carriers, allowing consumers to test drive what they’re about to buy.  Google’s strategy with the Nexus One was to allow consumers to try the device online, relying on the emulator to recreate the experience of the real device.  Unfortunately, nothing really compares to holding the device and experiencing it first hand.

There are probably other smaller anchors that kept the Nexus One from flying off the digital shelves like it’s unlocked price point or limited plan selection.  It’s impossible to know exactly what’s to blame but as customers become more accustomed to buying their devices unlocked and online, Google’s definitely set to cash in through their online store.  What do you blame for the Nexus One’s slow start out of the gate?  Let us know in the comments.