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.
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?