Fast Company

Google Nexus One Failing: Just 20,000 Sold in First Week

Nexus One

Underlining what some have been thinking, it's now been confirmed that Google's Nexus One "superphone" isn't super enough to go flying off the shelves. In its first week of sales just 20,000 units have been bought by the public.

The data's coming from Flurry, like similar analysis before it, and it's pretty representative of what's happening in actuality because Flurry tracks millions of user's interactions with thousands of apps (via embedded adverts) and then calculates how many phones are in action on a particular platform--like Android or iPhone. And this time, Flurry's statistics are absolutely damning.

Merely comparing the N1 with last year's highly-hyped Android MyTouch 3G shows how unpopular the N1 is--the MyTouch sold three times as many units in its first week. The N1's main Android competitor, the Motorola Droid, sold over twelve times as many units...which will be good news for any Motorola executive who was worried Google might steal their market. And comparing the sales figures to the daddy of all smartphones, the iPhone, it's basically shocking how poorly the N1 did: The 3G S sold 80 times as many units in the first week. Even given the huge inertia of the Apple brand, and its global launch, that's a staggering multiple. And you can bet it's a figure that's being shouted across the table in Google's boardroom today.

Or will it be? Because despite its technological cleverness, you could almost be forgiven for thinking Google doesn't seem to care about its amazing new superphone. Look at the shoddy PR event for its launch the absence of Google gurus Larry and Sergei, the terrible planning behind customer service and support for the technical problems the phone is facing, the lack of a serious advertising push to get the device into the public's eye...the list goes on. Google really seems to be a bit lackluster about the whole thing, from the hardware to supporting developers, to the workings of its new online Android phone store--apparently a flagship service.

So what's going on? Is this catalog of woes surrounding the N1 representative of doubts inside Google itself about the whole endeavor? It just might be, since the problems are surfacing in several different areas it's hard to blame them on a single failing in the N1 business plan.

[Via VentureBeat]

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4 Comments

  • Tammi Coles

    Chris, you may be too generous on the product front and not accounting for the other side: customer service. Complaints of poor/nonexistent customer service for Google's N1 are already popping up in Google's own online help forums. Other mobile phone providers have a track record and clear chain of product support, not to mention a world legion of users that are familiar with their shortcomings and related workarounds.

    Google needed to have much more customer service in place before releasing the N1 and the obvious lack of forethought on it is already hurting their sales.

  • Chris Clark

    With an unproven track record for this handset (and subsequent service), we shouldn't be surprised things are slow out of the gate. There's no way this device could have lived up the media hype and "what if's" that were flying around the net. You could follow the collective stream of rumors (HTC Passion, Dragon, HD2, Incredible, Nexus One) on a daily basis. To meet the expectations, Google would have had to hit a grand slam on this launch. If I had to guess, I’d say they probably hit a solid single.

    Heck, with double ETF's (carrier and Google) you better be damn sure this thing will perform for the next couple years. My guess is that people are waiting for the early adopters to test market the device and service before jumping in (I know I am). With news of a next gen iPhone around the corner, they’d better get around those bases quickly. In the end, these are smart folks over at Google. My hope is that they do turn this into an eventual game changer... If they don't someone else surely will.

  • Andrew Holliday

    Part of the problem is that Google approached the launch of N1 like the launch of a new web based application. Low hype, no ad budget, minimum thought about aesthetic and I'm sure they counted on geek hype to drive purchases. Unfortunately, launching a physical product directed at the masses is much different than a web application. A physical product needs a pretty wrapper, hype, quality function and expert reinforcement to make someone feel good about dropping the money. Apple has mastered the launch and that's why they dwarfed the sales of N1. Only a portion of that huge sales gap is attributable to the actual product differences. People love owning an apple product because it's beautifully designed, beautifully packaged, beautifully promoted and always hyped.

    That said, I believe you can't fully judge the group for another couple years. There is bound to be a long conversion time associated with products that have a high price point. I can guarantee that iphone owners aren't tossing their $200-$400 iphones out the window because the N1 hit stores. The big question is whether they'll consider the N1 when their iphone breaks and at&t tells them their not eligible for the discount on a new one yet. Google is smart and I'm sure they're thinking long term. I'll bet they've got some hidden agenda we don't see coming.

  • Andrew Holliday

    Part of the problem is that Google approached the launch of N1 like the launch of a new web based application. Low hype, no ad budget, minimum thought about aesthetic and I'm sure they counted on geek hype to drive purchases. Unfortunately, launching a physical product directed at the masses is much different than a web application. A physical product needs a pretty wrapper, hype, quality function and expert reinforcement to make someone feel good about dropping the money. Apple has mastered the launch and that's why they dwarfed the sales of N1. Only a portion of that huge sales gap is attributable to the actual product differences. People love owning an apple product because it's beautifully designed, beautifully packaged, beautifully promoted and always hyped.

    That said, I believe you can't fully judge the group for another couple years. There is bound to be a long conversion time associated with products that have a high price point. I can guarantee that iphone owners aren't tossing their $200-$400 iphones out the window because the N1 hit stores. The big question is whether they'll consider the N1 when their iphone breaks and at&t tells them their not eligible for the discount on a new one yet. Google is smart and I'm sure they're thinking long term. I'll bet they've got some hidden agenda we don't see coming.