The Nexus One Needs More Hype

The Nexus One is coming to Verizon — no, really, two months after a deal was announced by Google, the device is on its way. HTC has begun shipping the CDMA version of Google’s Nexus One to Verizon Wireless, according to a report in the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (hat tip, Digitimes). The nation’s largest carrier will begin selling the gadget in the next few weeks, joining T-Mobile USA, which has supported the “Google phone” since its January launch. But that won’t do much to boost Google’s mobile effort unless Mountain View throws some real marketing muscle behind the Nexus One.

There’s a lot to like about the Nexus One, which Om has praised as “the best Android phone yet.” The phone rocks the powerful 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and solid mobile browser, and is closely integrated with applications from both Google and third-party developers. But sales have been tremendously disappointing, prompting Goldman Sachs last week to slash its 2010 sales estimates for the Nexus One by a whopping 70 percent.

That lack of movement can be directly traced to an almost utter lack of marketing for the phone. (That’s a lesson Palm has learned with its Pre. Twice.) Google’s promotion of its flagship device consisted largely of a placing a modest link on its home page, and carriers — which are rightly terrified of their brands being elbowed out of the way — have only minimally backed the gadget. Worse, the phone is available only through Google’s online store, which most smartphone shoppers surely don’t even know exists. And that model isn’t likely to change with Verizon Wireless, as Kevin at jkOnTheRun noted last week.

Google has said since January that the Nexus One would be coming to Verizon Wireless, and the company is wise to combine its impressive hardware with Verizon’s rock-solid network. But if Google is really going to move the needle with its flagship device, it’s going to have to back it with some big-budget marketing campaigns.

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