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Will The New AT&T Nexus One Save The Brand?

Google introduced its Nexus One phone to much fanfare about how it would shake up the status quo in the cellular phone industry as it would be sold directly by the manufacturer.  Well, with some data that just came out, it isn’t exactly burning up the sales charts, but what an optimum time to announce more carriers!

Flurry is a company that does analytics reports for mobile applications, and while they can’t give you exact details on the number of handsets of each type of handset out there being used, they can extrapolate data to give you a pretty good idea of how many of each are out there.  On the 74th day after release of the Nexus One, the company decided to take a look at how the Google-branded phone stacked up against other big name handsets such as the original iPhone and Motorola’s Droid.  It wasn’t pretty.

flurry nexus one

The reason day 74 was chosen was because that was the day Apple sold its millionth original iPhone after the initial release in 2007.  While you can say comparing the Nexus One to the original iPhone is like comparing apples and oranges, you can’t really say the same thing when looking at the possible sales figured for the Motorola Droid.  Both phones are based on Google’s Android operating system (OS), and sure there are differences based on tweaks to this open source OS solution, but it is still an Android phone at the heart of it.

google-nexus-oneSo with this disappointing news, it seems only fitting that now is when Google is announcing that the Nexus One is being opened up to two more cellular carriers.  In the USA AT&T is being added as a carrier, and in Canada it will now work with Rogers.

Considering the extreme disparity between sales figures of the Nexus One and similar smartphones, will this be enough to help the success of the device?  That remains to be seen, and while it was a nice experiment to sell the phones directly, that may be part of what is now backfiring on them.  Without having the phones in the stores, it makes it difficult for people to do comparison shopping, and when you know you are buying a phone that you are picking the device you will be using for two years, you want to pick it up, feel it in your hand and see how it feels physically to you.  Just looking at images on a screen doesn’t say a whole lot about how you will feel about it in your hand over the next 24 months.

There is also the issue that Google has gotten a bad reputation for customer service in regards to the phone as it was nothing something they had ever really had to deal with before.  The service is reportedly improving, but it’s always difficult to get out from that reputation once it has been earned.

Opening the phone up to AT&T can’t do anything but help out Google gain some sales.  The initial carrier partner was T-Mobile — which will still be a choice for new phone purchasers — but it is a carrier with a so-so reputation int he United States for service and coverage.  While AT&T also has some coverage issues, at least it is one of the big two carriers in the country.

The Nexus One is sure to gain some more ground now, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to become a serious player in the marketplace.

What say you?  Is opening up to AT&T going to help the Nexus One?  Why is it seemingly having trouble catching on?


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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...


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