Nexus One: 80,000 Sold After 1 Month

After one month, the Nexus One has only sold a reported 80,000 units which is a much more than a hop, skip and jump from the numbers the iPhone and Motorola Droid did upon launch. Google themselves were cautiously optimistic about sales numbers and the reason for this huge gap is OBVIOUS: the distribution model and advertising.

nexus-sales

The iPhone and Motorola Droid both had marketing campaigns that likely rank as the most expensive for a consumer electronics device so far this millenium. Furthermore, those seeing the commercial knew exactly where to get the object being advertised and had few questions about how to obtain the product. On top of that, customers oblivious to the commercials still had a high chance of purchasing the device just by walking into the store and being told about it.

The Nexus One ad campaign was based entirely online using Google Ads and a brief feature on Google’s homepage. Customers had to purchase the device through the Google website and, since it wasn’t tied directly into a carrier, most customers were probably confused about how this affected their regular/existing contract or what this meant by signing a new contract. It was a new way of obtaining a phone and people aren’t comfortable with “new” because things that are new are often confusing – ESPECIALLY when you’re talking about technology and service contracts.

Much of Google’s goals were to break this pattern of purchasing mobile phones in the FIRST place. And based on only selling 80,000 units I think they’ve got a LONG way to go. And although the iPhone and Droid had huge traditional media campaigns, you would think that a featured spot on the Google homepage for DAYS along with millions of ad impressions across the interwebz would move more units in 1 month.

Especially because the Nexus One is Google’s first sponsored phone and many are saying its better than the iPhone. I’m wondering if – one year from now – we’ll consider the Nexus One to have been a consumer success? I think that depends on how the Nexus Two fares and if Google’s model can gain some momentum. But cmon now… we know Google has some more tricks up their sleeves, right?

[Gizmodo, WSJ, Flurry]

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  • http://schwiz.net schwiz

    They should make the ninja unboxing a superbowl commercial!

  • Jorge

    I’m sure there were tons of people like me who were at google.com/phone in the first week of the release of the Nexus One and ended up not purchasing the device because we found we weren’t eligible for the discounted price because we were on a family plan. There were just way too many reasons to NOT give me the discount and as much as I would like to, I still can’t talk myself into spending $500 on a smart phone. I can guarantee the moment the discount extends to family plans, they’ll be selling at least one more unit to me.

  • maxisma

    IMO it was a dumb turn of Google to sell this phone without advertising on TV or in the real world, as well as selling it only on google.com/phone..
    Also customers are bound to Google Checkout..
    PayPal maybe would have created a few more sells.

  • byronicman

    Surely the real reason the numbers aren’t all that is because most of us who want a Nexus One are currently tied into a contract for the G1/Dream. I’ve got three months to go – then I’m going to jump on the N1 bandwagon. I suspect many others are in the same situation. So I’m sure they’re not worried.

  • Al

    People who bought the Droid would be hard pressed to commit themselves to yet another contract and hand over a couple of hundred dollars again.

  • thewiredman

    This model would have worked very well for other countries. It was really disappointing to go to the google phone page and find that almost all countries weren’t eligible, I was waiting for buying this phone from google.
    Sure I can get one on ebay but paying $700 plus taxes doesn’t sound like a good deal.
    Anyway, I hope Google start adding new countries soon.

  • Bill

    Not surprised. Google definitely failed on this one.

    1.Why can’t I get this phone with a family plan?
    2.Why do I have to exclusively buy this phone online and not have the option to buy it in-store either?

    Not really ‘confusing’ but more of a hassle I say. Also, this is a great time of year for sales for all the early birds who get tax refunds. I was going to try and get the N1 with my return at a price for an upgrade. In no way am I going to buy the phone full price, either. Guess I’ll have to wait til the MyTouch 3g 1.2 comes out and get it unless there’s some sort of deal around then.

  • Summerfish

    It may seem like a bad analogy, but look at Lady Gaga. When her first song came out, people liked it and kinda knew of her but it wasn’t until a few months later until she boomed to be where she is now. I’m sure Google will breakdown and finally have it advertised on tv and in stores, but will still keep the buying process online.

  • Zapote21

    Everyone wants to be a sheep… I buy a phone because I determine that its the best device for me. Not because 500,000 other sheep bought it after they saw it on TV…

    I love my Nexus.

  • http://www.cheapriver.com Jaap

    What I don’t understand is that Google doesn’t start an affiliate program. E.g. you get 25$ if somebody via your site buys an Nexus One

  • scuzzy19

    You guys are missing the point(comments) google sold 800,000 units with NO advertising on tv or radio ANYWHERE all they had was a small link on the google homepage and blog postings of the phone that weren’t even Google’s, just tech blogs. Thats a feat on its own.

  • Charles Burt

    I have a family plan with T-mobile. I called T-mobile and told them I wanted to buy a Nexus One. They temporarily changed my family plan to two individual plans which allowed me to buy the Nexus One from Google at a discounted price. I paid $270. At the start of my next billing cycle, T-mobile put me back on my original family plan and all is back the way it was. It might have helped that the contract on my phone expired the following month and they wanted to keep me as a customer. I’ve been with T-mobile for six years and have always had quality reception and good customer service.

  • Joe

    Your compareing apple to oranges (ok!, maybe oranges to tangerines)
    Droid came out right before Christmas wile being the first Android phone for a top provider with no real Android competition.
    Nexus One came after everyone bought there Droid’s, and has to compete with not only the Droid but with several other high end Android phones both currently available or announced soon to come.
    I know that I for one can’t stand the fact that I don’t yet have a Android phone but i am holding out for all the dust to clear before I commit my self to a Phone Brand and 2 year contract.
    How is the Android phone sales doing compared to others during the same time frame? That is the only fair measure that can be made.

  • Pneumatic

    I have tried every week or so since the launch (I tried 100+ times that day and for a week after launch). I still get the error “T-Mobile’s servers are busy or unreachable” so I haven’t bought one.

    I have sent emails to Google and T-Mobile, posted on forums, and done everything I know t do to buy the phone using my existing account (which is well over due for an upgrade at around 32 months). They just don’t seem very motivated to sell me one so I am waiting for the next phone to arrive where I can walk into a store and buy it.

    IMO the Google launch of their first phone is an Epic Fail.

  • Casper Bang

    Google obviously has the money and channels available to go into a full spectered marketing campaign. The fact that they haven’t probably is because they are tweaking and accessing this new business model. I also don’t think Google (and HTC?) can’t handle 1 mio. phones a month yet. So even if some people try to paint this is a failure, I think that’s only if you see everything in black and white.

  • http://xrellix@blogspot.com xrellix

    Dont forget there was an Android blitz just before the N1 came out with Hero, Droid etc. Everyone just had their Android fix, they are not gonna break contract only 1-2 months in, but let me tell u we are all dying to get the N1 but we may end up waiting till the N2!

  • Noah Y

    The N1 launch had 3 problems.

    1. Most importantly, let’s face it, there wasn’t much market left for premium smartphones. Lots of people have iPhones and most of them are stuck in contracts. Most of the people who aren’t interested in the iPhone had already bought an Android (or other) phone of some kind. The Droid launch just a few months earlier ate up most of those people. Plus it was too early for people who bought G1′s at launch to upgrade as they too were still on contract.

    2. You couldn’t buy it in stores. Most people need to get their hands on a device before shelling out this kind of money.

    3. People are too stupid to do the math on the subsidized vs. unsubsidized options. If Google had put the numbers right there on google.com/phone so people could realize that paying the hard-to-swallow $530 actually cost you marginally LESS over 2 years, more people might have “gotten it.” The unsubsidized purchase model only works because it gives you access to T-Mobile’s no-contract plans which are cheaper, but since this fact got no publicity only a tiny fraction of potential buyers knew about it, including even T-Mobile customers.

  • YankeeDudeL

    @scuzzy19

    You’re absolutely right. It seems like Google was testing the waters more than anything else. Sure, they could have sold more units if they plastered their advertisements everywhere, but they found a way to sell a product w/o having to advertise anywhere but on their own platform. And on top of that, now it’s starting to generate word-of-mouth buzz.

    W/ the Super Bowl tomorrow will come commercials that cost millions of dollars just for the spot. From an advertising perspective, Google has certainly shifted how a company need do business.

  • Celina Doyle

    Thanks Burt! I just talked to T-Mobile and we switched the family plan to separate plans briefly and I got my Nexus one for the $179.

  • apollo305

    man please the nexus one could have been a success. Its not because of lack of advertising on t.v. because the advertising online is just as good. its the lack of carriers. palm wised up so why doesnt google. Palms sales rose when it released the pre on verizon and soon at&t. So whats goin on google why dont you do that, release the phone to other companies. i know its coming soon to verizon, but what about at&t or my favorite network, sprint. if it released on sprint it would be so successful but there is only so much time, as the wimax/supersonic(android verison of the htc hd2) will be released for sprint with a bigger screen more ram. I mean google get it together man, Come on man you got no dick man, eat some fisk sticks and get it together or you’ll be left in the dust

  • Milind Rao

    I think Noah#17 got it right. I’d like to add 2 more.

    1. It’s not truly provider neutral. Unless it works on AT&T 3G network, people with poor or no T-Mobile connectivity, aren’t going to buy one. Making another phone for AT&T is no solution since then, you are pretty much locked into AT&T.

    2. Selling a $500 phone with pathetic customer service, sight unseen with 3G connectivity problems, with an ETF of $300+$200 is ridiculous. It makes me wonder if this 80,000 number includes returns within the 14 days.

    It has no keyboard. This is for me personally. But I’m sure there are other like me.

  • Charles Gallagher

    I have already put the money aside and as soon as the N1 becomes available for Verizon I will buy one.

  • jae

    @schwiz that would be so kool i love the video

  • Derr

    Wow… guys, the android platform combined OUTSOLD apples first month. AND we are in tougher economical times. This is great!!

    Also, the N1 is the FIRST phone that has google, tmobile and HTC (three companies) all apart of customer service etc. It seems VERY obvious to me that this initial release on a smaller carrier (tmobile) with high pricing and limited discounts is Google’s form of a beta. They’ve been working on the 3g glitch, the multipress and a whole horde of other issues that they are getting squared away right now with the 80k or so people buying it.

    I guarantee you the numbers will skyrocket when the likes of Verizon / AT&T (the largest carriers in the country) add the phones to their line ups. Then, you will see more advertising and another big push for the phone.

    Google is in this for the long haul. Those numbers don’t mean anything, they’re doing it right.

  • coolMandingo

    News flash !! The reason the nexus one didn’t sell as much as they exus wasn’t available at $179 for people like me.I got the g1 september of 2008(when it first came out)so I’m being penalized because I bought there g1.I go to the site and it gives me the generic answer about my plan. Saying I can only get the phone for $529. My haitian ass got bigger things to deal with than paying that much for a phone.pretty much google didn’t cater to the already existing tmobile customers that have android phones or for people looking to upgrade to an android phone.so that 80,000 could have easily been over 2 or 300,000. But they chose to sell it for a crazy ass price and offered a wack ass plan to go along with that phone. I’m waitng for the xperia x10 f the nexus one.

  • Matt W

    OK, aside from the ad campaign and new distribution method, the biggest reason has got to be that it’s on T-Mobile. If they had put this phone on Verizon or AT&T to begin with, there would have been a lot more sales. Small provider, small sales number. That’s nothing to be surprised about. What we should be surprised about is how this supposedly “revolutionary” phone was only fully compatible with one network…

  • APlayerfromtheHimalya

    @scuzzy19 hit it on the nose.
    Google spent little money on the phone, NO advertising costs and sold 80,000 units. The revenue at an average costs of 270, google may have made near $20 million….and it didn’t cost them much more than some time on the internet.

    Failure…NO, test, yes…Larger carriers will drive the revenue stream even higher….

    Google experimented very well on this one…..with a nice profit stream…

    It’s like McDonalds…It’s not about the food. They are the largest land owners…period.

  • http://inasar.posterous.com Nasar

    I think the model of buying a phone at full price has not fared well in western markets where operators make money by enticing customers with subsidized units to get on their network.
    In developing markets, Pakistan for example, there are no operator contracts and operators make money the old fashioned way; confusing people with complicated price plans. People buy unlocked phones at full price and then opt into networks of their choice.
    A $500 dollar phone is not that far-fetched in Pakistan because price of communication is really low. A $500 phone in USA is a bigger ask because operators charge a hell of a lot more for simple voice and data.
    I think google failed in their first attempt to sell the phone. However, they will get other chances and i can bet that they will still make their targets, though it will take a little more time and some return to conventional selling and marketing.

  • by

    I’ve yet to buy the N1 because I’m on AT&T and want my phone to be usable on AT&T’s 3G network, and more European networks. Once it does that, Google will sell one more phone to me, and others I’m sure

  • MW

    I’d guess that these number have alot to do with early adaptors still being under contract on their previous android phones, at least thats what held me back from upgrading. I just couldnt justify the full purchase at this time.

  • BS

    If it supported AT&T 3G data they would have me as a customer right now. The Nexus One has every feature I want in a phone, except for that one! I imagine I’m not the only one in this spot, so my guess is that 80K would be a lot higher if they supported more networks.

  • alchemist

    Ok, folks! Here is my theory……. hear me out for a min! Google as we all know didn’t become this big with shear luck or just because their search engine business clicked but because they are a group of strategists making the move with at least knowing 2 to 3 moves ahead of them! We as consumers always care about what we get out of a company we follow, there is nothing wrong with that….. but for a company its all about strategy!

    I can bet Google did what they did willingly, they had no intention to out sell iPhone or droid or any other Android phone out there neither the fact that they released nexus one after many other cool android phones is their poor startegy…. they knew what they were doing.

    We all know android is Google’s dream child and adopted by many phone manufacturers which Google can’t neglect by beating them in cell phone sales cause android is not just and all about cell phones, its a platform with immense potential and promise in other products and applications. For Google, cell phone industry is an avenue to create a buzz/awareness in the market about the platform and at the same time show apple its place in the competition with a big banner that says “You mess with the bull and you get the horns” which they were able to do successfully with nexus one launch. And at the same time they are out to change the culture where consumers get ripped off by the carriers here in USA. But they know the only way is to begin playing the game with carriers with some of their rules or else they are out of the game from the get go.

    Yes I too wish it was all that simple to get a hold of nexus one but Google isn’t playing for selling one phone, they are in the game for a change. At the end they make sure they will win but not without letting us win…..

    Typed on my Hero, please ignore any typos….

  • sathya

    Ok, folks! Here is my theory……. hear me out for a min! Google as we all know didn’t become this big with shear luck or just because their search engine business clicked but because they are a group of strategists making the move with at least knowing 2 to 3 moves ahead of them! We as consumers always care about what we get out of a company we follow, there is nothing wrong with that….. but for a company its all about strategy!

    I can bet Google did what they did willingly, they had no intention to out sell iPhone or droid or any other Android phone out there neither the fact that they released nexus one after many other cool android phones is their poor strategy…. they knew what they were doing.

    We all know android is Google’s dream child and adopted by many phone manufacturers which Google can’t neglect by beating them in cell phone sales cause android is not just and all about cell phones, its a platform with immense potential and promise in other products and applications. For Google, cell phone industry is an avenue to create a buzz/awareness in the market about the platform and at the same time show apple its place in the competition with a big banner that says “You mess with the bull and you get the horns” which they were able to do successfully with nexus one launch. And at the same time they are out to change the culture where consumers get ripped off by the carriers here in USA. But they know the only way is to begin playing the game with carriers with some of their rules or else they are out of the game from the get go.

    Yes! I too wish it was all that simple to get a hold of nexus one but Google isn’t playing for selling one phone, they are in the game for a change. At the end they make sure they will win but not without letting us win…..

    Typed on my Hero, please ignore any typos….

  • lazarus101

    I don’t understand why Google hasn’t released it on european markets. Most european carriers are fully compatible with N1 frequencies plus buying a phone without a contract and online is a common practice here

  • Y314K

    Charles Burt & Celina Doyle: Is the text add-on part of your prior & renew contract… I would like to sub for two nexus one phones & then move them to a family plan but I don’t need and won’t pay for text… Wondering if TMobile is letting you change once you move to a Family Plan…???

    Any info would be appreciated..

  • mrbill

    The one thing I haven’t seen mentioned by anyone yet as a reason for the pathetic sales is the elephant in the room. The Nexus One is LOADED with problems. It is a defective product and not only should all sales be halted until it is fixed, there should be a recall to fix the ever-growing list of problems. To continue to sell a product that has been and continues to be documented to be defective, is bordering on a criminal offense. Also, no one has ventured to guess how many of those 80,000 beta-test units sod have been returned.

  • root beer

    as much as i love the nexus one, im really disappointed that its not available for canada. i mean, we’re canadians just next to our friends in US but always get treated like we’re some third world country. since the device is unlocked, should have gone north american from day 1. come on google

  • Eric B

    like others i would have bought one the very first day it went on sale… if it was available in canada, and worked on rogers wireless.

  • OmegaKitsune

    Giving it only t-mobile 3G bands was a bad move. Like many people, I would have had one by now if I could use it on my AT&T 3G network. I have no interest in switching to a t-mobile plan with such small 3G coverage. =\

  • Champs

    Gross numbers don’t look that great, but the fact that sales haven’t faded in the following weeks isn’t such a bad sign. I’ll probably buy one this week, especially if if the latest OTA really has fixed the reception issues.

  • webby

    I won’t buy a phone I can’t get my hands on and play with.
    T-Mobile’s network is too thin — unacceptable.
    The N1 has had too many problems – I won’t pay to beta test.
    Bottom line: Epic fail

  • dmartin9

    I waited months for this phone to come out. The distribution method they chose was at best WACK. T-Mobile talked me into the Even-More Unlimited plan a month before with the understanding I would pay full price for my next phone, but I would be able to make spread the cost of the phone over 2 years. Then this phone comes out and they tell me I can’t spread the payments out because T-Mobile isn’t directly offering the phone. In this current economic climate I can not justify paying over $500 for a phone. So I will wait until T-Mobile offers another Android phone that qualifies for my plan.

  • cwrig

    Nexus will never have big numbers until it is on a big network.

  • Brett

    Not even surprising…This is the first phone being sold by Google at full price. Not everybody is willing to pay the full price for a phone. If the iPhone and Droid were released at full price [both more than the N1] They would have the same results. This comparison is irrelevant. Sell the iTool and Droid for full price THEN compare them.

  • Stephen

    You may be missing the big picture: the droid is still an Android device and it sold very well. I think as long as the android platform continues to sell, it really doesn’t matter what device its on. That part of the beautiful of Android is its on multiple devices to meet others needs.

    However this doesn’t devalue the fact that we do need one killer Android device to face up against the Iphone. Is it the Nexus one? eh?

  • Davros

    @mrbill
    You can absolutely confirm this because you have personally checked all of them?

    Myself and a colleague have nexus one’s and we have had no problems whatsoever. In fact another colleague has a 3GS and after he played with my N1 wanted to swap it. Its the best smartphone I’ve used by a mile. IMHO it is FAR superior to the iphone.

  • mrbill

    @Davros
    Just like any product that IS defective not all of the units made/sold exhibit signs of the defect. I am truly happy that you and your colleague(s) are not having any problems with yours and I agree if it worked correctly, the Nexus One would probably be the “best smartphone out there”. I am on my 3rd one and about to exchange it for a 4th one due to various problems. I would be happy to swap phone with you and pay all of the shipping. You see all I really want is what I paid for…… A phone that works, as advertised.

  • tomboy

    I agree- ever look at the tmobile data coverage map? is that a joke or what. sorry i’ll wait until this phone is on 1 of the big 3.

  • ifti

    i think the nexus one will do well, can anyone remeber when microsoft launched the xbox when ps2 had sold tons and tons more units, then when xbox 360 came out it was a hit even though it was up against ps3 blu-ray.

  • joejoe m

    Mrbill.. care to explain what “problems” u r speaking of? I love the n1. I am a T-Mobile customer care rep and can tell u that if u are on the 4th replacement, its user stupidity (or to be PC… user ERROR). And please people! Quit bitching at T-Mobile for not selling it! Would u bitch at your internet provider for not selling a particular TV?