23 Comments

Summary:

With a target of 150,000, Google’s Nexus One phone is said to have sold about 20,500 units according to estimates by Flurry. It was outsold by Droid by more than 12 times, myTouch 3G by 3 times and iPhone 3GS 80 times they say.

When I spoke with Google’s mobile boss, Andy Rubin, he said that Google would be happy to sell about 150,000 Nexus One devices. That number, he said, would be enough for the Google Phone to get in front of a majority of American phone buyers who might want to take a look at it. Well, let’s just say a fraction of the job might be done. According to Flurry, a San Francisco-based mobile application analytics company, Google may have sold about 20,500 units of the Nexus One, which if you read my review is the best Android phone on the market.

In the past, Flurry has been fairly accurate in giving guesstimates as to first-week sales, thanks to its relationships with 10,000 app developers. They estimate that the “Nexus One was outsold by Droid by more than 12 times, myTouch 3G by 3 times and iPhone 3GS by a staggering 80 times.” Of course, Google didn’t spend a lot of money on marketing — that isn’t part of the plan — as Rubin explained to me.

Cannibalization may also be playing a role as the Nexus One competes against the myTouch 3G for any new T-Mobile customer. In effect, sales are now split between the two handsets. And while Google, in an effort to avoid channel conflict with T-Mobile, appears to have set the direct-to-consumer price for the handset at over $500 dollars, the high price point combined with the fact that the handset is only considered an “evolutionary” improvement over previous Android devices, indicates that Google did not take the steps to maximize first week sales. (Flurry Press Release)

firstweeklaunch.png I think 20,500 Nexus Ones sold might be a tad on the high side, considering Google has been giving away the phone to its employees and has seeded the market with giveaways. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how Google carries on pushing this device in the coming months. The company is experiencing a backlash over customer service issues and more recently about confusion over service cancellation charges.

Related GigaOM Pro Research:
Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One

  1. I guess even Nokia N97 must have sold more than that. The negative reviews about 3G and lack of customer service is probably not helping. Personally I will wait for Nexus two. Better get that right and ahead of iPhone 4G.

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  2. Google is probably realizing that retail is a very different business and they will not be getting free ride this time around. Launching HW is not the same as putting up a webpage with beta slapped on it with bunch of disclaimers.

    Having said that, N1 is an important milestone in the mobile technology evolution and there is no doubt it will have an important long term impact. Perhaps N2 will become more mainstream. Will this dent the iPhone juggernaut though? Apple is not sitting idle, a low end iPhone and an updated 4G iPhone may be coming sooner than expected.

    All in all, the great switch from desktop to mobile devices (possibly including tablets) continues.

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  3. So much for the Nexus One being the “iPhone killer” the Google Fanboys (GooBoys) and Android Fanboys (Fandroids) made so much noise about the last couple of weeks.

    I’m excited about the Nexus One and Android 2.1, even as an iPhone owner since day one with 4 different models.

    I’d test drive the Nexus One in a heartbeat if I could actually go someplace and touch it before buying. As is, you’re looking at a $45 restocking fee, plus return postage, just for the privilege of trying the phone out if it happens to not meet your needs.

    The Nexus One, in the end, will turn out to be an interesting, perhaps very respectable device, but it does very little to actually change the cellphone market, neither in terms of how phones are sold, or how service is offered. It won’t even make much of scratch, let alone a dent, in the iPhone’s popularity.

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  4. Plus, I am sure that there are plenty of Verizon customers like myself that are just waiting for it to come to our carrier (probably the single greatest reason I don’t have an iPhone right now). While I was set on getting a Droid, I want to get up close with the Nexus before making that final call.

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  5. If Google is looking to turn the tables on the carriers by selling direct and having the consumer select a carrier after the purchase they better get develop a serious marketing plan.

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  6. 20,000 in one week? I think Apple sold 20,000 iPhones in the first minute when introduced.

    I like the fact that Android will certainly make Apple pick up their game. But Android is turning out to be a repeat of the Windows experience, and who the hell wants that except people that enjoy dealing with problems.

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  7. This is where Flurry’s data becomes very interesting. Bad news for Google, and the poor customer service articles do not help them.

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  8. The Google phone is EXACTLY what Google is – other than search, the concept of a UI is foreign to Google – Check out the MORE menu on their front page or any of their apps – NONE look even similiar … and so of course, they design a phone with poor & different icons and a phone that can only access 2% of the storage for loading apps. Google & most of its services relies on YOU to figure them out or email the forum for an answer – they figure you’ll figure it out. That’s a fine business model since they are used to giving away everything for ‘free.’ It’s NOT a MASS MARKET business plan, it’s NOT a MONEY making plan like Apple’s. It’s a kit-car business plan versus a buying a ready to drive away business plan – it’s different and much more limiting in EVERY aspect including the user experience. I imagine in 6-7 years, they will have finally figured it out. Of course, for those of us with a need to use the best phone now will stick with the iPhone and of course, I don’t imagine Apple will wait 6-7 years for Google to figure out how to replicate the first iphone by 2018.

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  9. I tried the Android on the Samsung Galaxy Spica… unimpressed and anoyed. Here is a $500 phone, cheaply packaged, packed with no features, even YouTube didn’t work?!

    I got immediately bored with the Android and left it alone…

    I’m paying attention to the HTC Sense, these guys are on to something, and if they manage to get windows mobile to pick up their game, phones like HTC HD2 might prove to be the better rival to take on the iPhone…

    I got the HTC that has Android, and I will test it hoping it will not be as boring.

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  10. Epic FAIL.

    Even the Palm Pre sold what, 5X as many phones in its first week?!?

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    1. Totally agree. 20k phones = Epic FAIL

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  11. Normal. That phone does not reinvent anything.
    What does it really do sooo better than a Droid?
    Also, you want to out play the iPhone? Don’t copy it.

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  12. I think that google has a future for OS, but I agree with @Leeslie that they need some time to make it better after a few rounds.. Regarding the N97 – it’s nokia’s biggest shame.

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  13. The same idiots who are dissing the number of Nexus One units were the ones saying that Android wouldn’t get anywhere. Fools.
    It’s a new way to buy a phone, it will take time and it will win, it’s only the beginning.

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  14. OMG! That aint much for a first weeks sales. Thats awfully bad…I guess Iphone still reigns Supreme!!!

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  15. one thing that should be taken into consideration is that the nexus-One’s launch was very unconventional. we are accustomed to buying phones that are tied to carriers, we would go into the store, touch and have a sense of the product. But this phone at launch was only available on the Google website, and the lack of robust marketing and push i believe contributed to the “soft launch”.

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    1. I actually purchased one of these yesterday. And then cancelled the order 10 minutes later. Your’s is one of the reasons why: I can’t touch it and feel it in my hand or see how smooth (or not) the phone operates.

      There are several other reasons:

      I’m tied into the Apple/Mac/iPhone/iTunes ecosystem pretty tightly and there aren’t nice alternatives for Android. Some things like Audible.com audiobooks have no Android solution.

      TMobile’s coverage map shows that the 5 square blocks around my house are a “Fair” coverage area, which means “You should be able to usually place calls outdoor, occasionally inside a car, but not indoors.” That’s an exact quote from TMobile’s cover map. What’s amazing to me is that I am less than a mile from the intersection of two MAJOR Southern California freeways, and in the middle of a huge Los Angeles suburb. It must just be a fluke of tower placement that doesn’t overlap well, but it seems lame. I know that inside my house is a TMobile deadzone, since my friend has to go outside to use his hacked iPhone that’s on TMobile. I assumed it was the iPhone and not TMobile, but apparently not.

      Also, I just don’t trust Google so much. I want to. I want to use their services, but they seem to be tied into just so much of our “private” information, tracking all we do in every way they can think of.

      Not to mention that every single Google product, except for search, has the “beta” feel about it, where the GUI and the actual product just aren’t that well thought out. Reports of Android suggest that even with 2.1, there is still an inconsistent feel to the GUI.

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  16. I have an issue with the “Installed Base” figures for the Android phones… Are they saying there isn’t an installed base of Android users out there? Android phones have been around for a little over a year now, surely there’s an installed base of Android users!?

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  17. The phone is great (a co-worker bought one)… But after just dropping $399 for a myTouch – this phone is out of my range for at least another year.

    My problem is that I think there’s going to be too many “Google” phones, with too many handset makers – all too different…

    I’d love to have a Nexus. But what’s going to come out next month? At least with Apple – if you buy the latest iPhone, you know you have at least a year before your phone is outdated..

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    1. @shawn- “At least with Apple – if you buy the latest iPhone, you know you have at least a year before your phone is outdated..”

      I think that’s misstated. It should be phrased as “if you buy the latest iPhone, you know you have at least a year before Apple releases a new model…”

      I make that correction because some would argue that the iPhone 3G[s] is already “outdated” when compared to the latest hardware offerings. iPhone’s screen technology is the same as it was three years ago – it works, and works well, but it’s power hungry and low resolution compared to the Droid and Nexus One. Similar could be said for the CPU.

      Apple should probably up the specs on the device every six months or so, in my opinion, if they want to keep power-users from switching away.

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      1. on the other hand, so far apple has provided even their original model from 3 years ago with the newest OS at no charge and kept their customers up to date (at least as far as hardware supported features).

        i wonder how the android power-users felt when their first ‘official’ google phone (G1?) couldn’t run the next major update? I guess they just bought the next one and got rid of that ‘outdated’ model.

        I suppose there is a difference in mentality between the target audiences – android so far still seems to attract mostly the ‘geek’ crowd that reads spec-sheets, whereas apple seems more focused on consumers (who usually don’t care about specs) and customer satisfaction.

        I can’t speak for the android user experience, as i haven’t had the chance to play with an android phone, but it’ll be interesting to see if google can get that right in the long run.

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  18. SHouldn’t be a surprsie that Google didn’t become a top rate phone retailer overnight – on the data though, Om,, are you talking US market for those Nexus One, iPhone 3GS multiples? Because I guess globally it was even more substantially outsold by Nokia and others.

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    1. This is data for the first week – Nexus One was available in the US, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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