Codebreaker

Shhh: Google quietly fails at something (else)

author198 Jul 19, 2010

Powerful as it may be, and as much as it continues to absorb, amoeba-like, the collected knowledge of the world, Google has its fair share of failures under its belt. Digital services tend to fade quietly and blow away with the wind (Google Wave? Google Buzz? Google Fizzy-Wizz? — OK, I made that last one up) and many technically remain Google Labs “beta” products for their entire lifespans. (Hey, they’re not flops! Just Google tryin’ stuff out, like Google does.)

But when the failure is a physical product — Google’s first real physical product, in fact — perhaps it makes a larger “thud.” Google’s own cell phone, the Nexus One, is about to become very hard to find. The cell-phone-with-a-shampoo-name was reasonably well-received when it launched in January, but sales never took off and never really made the case for itself in the smartphone arms race. Google announced on its blog that it is receiving its last shipment of phones.

Nexus One is arguably a casualty of Google’s success with its open-source Android smartphone operating system. Few wireless carriers wanted to sell the actual Nexus One, but other Android-based phones have proliferated and pushed the OS into first place in the U.S. (yes, way more people use Android than have an iPhone). With so many Android-based phones to choose from, why would one expect the Nexus One to prosper?

Sorry, Google. Guess it’s back to the Labs for the next attempt at One Device to Rule Them All.

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