An analyst at Goldman Sachs has thrown a wrench into the works of Google's smartphone by downgrading the sales forecast of the Nexus One. Initial expectations were high: analysts had said as many as 3.5 million units would be sold in the first year. But with just 80,000 sold in the first month, according to mobile analytic group Flurry, figures have now been revised down to around a million.
Compare and contrast this with other handsets. The first iPhone took 74 days to hit a million in sales; version 2, in 2008, took just three days (by this time, however, it was available pretty much worldwide). The iPhone 3G S version hit 1.6 million within a week.
Moving away from Apple, which—let's face it—currently has the smartphone market all sewn up, how are other Android phones faring? Well the Droid, Motorola's last-ditch attempt to keep its head above water, flogged 525,000 through Verizon in the same month that the Nexus One was released.
And maybe this is what the first bona-fide Google phone needs: a network. It's interesting to note that, on the Nexus One Web site, the T-Mobile version ($179) is sold out, while the contract-free version ($529) is yours for the taking. There's no doubt that Google fluffed the launch back in January. There was a little bit of fluttery hype, but no announcements, no big fanfare, it was just unveiled, like any other product, around the time of CES, the tail-end of a bunch of Android OS upgrades. And then there was the customer service—or lack of it.
Goldman Sachs indulged in a bit of stern finger-wagging in its forecast note. "We assume that Google rolls out a second Nexus handset, markets it more aggressively, and makes it available offline, and therefore forecast that Google sells two million handsets per year in 2011 and future years." If that's not a Must Try Harder report card, I don't know what is.
One gets the feeling that even Larry and Sergei are over the gPhone. Last week John Herlihy, Google's top guy in Europe, said that data mining was where the sexy jobs were at in Mountain View, although he took the view that smartphones were an essential tool for Google. Just not their own-brand ones, it seems.