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Google stops selling Android handsets direct

Google could be launching a host of Nexus devices in 4Q12

While Android as a platform is certainly gaining momentum, Google’s moves to push its own flavour of the operating system are hitting obstacles. The latest being the web giant’s decision to yank its direct to consumer online handset store, due to poor adoption of the channel.

When Google launched the Nexus One, its flagship Google-Android-based handset, in January, the only place to buy the phone, either unlocked or on the T-Mobile network, was from the online Google store.

The moved raised many eyebrows and the most accepted explanation was that Google was not convinced enough handset vendors and operators were pushing its in house developed flavour of Android. This is despite the fact that Android in its open source form has been well received by the industry.

“We launched Nexus One in January with two goals in mind: to introduce a beacon of innovation among Android handsets, and to make it quick and easy for people to buy an Android phone,” said Andy Rubin, VP of engineering at Google. “We’re very happy with the adoption of Android in general, and the innovation delivered through Nexus One.”

But, “While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from,” Rubin said.

As a result, Google is making the Nexus One available in more countries with more operator partners, and “Once we have increased the availability of Nexus One devices in stores, we’ll stop selling handsets via the web store, and will instead use it as an online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally,” Rubin said.

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