Google’s attempt to sell the Nexus One directly to consumers was a total flop, but now it’s back with a more appealing offer: A database that tracks all of the Android handsets in the market place allowing consumers to conduct comparisons across handset makers and carriers.
In a blog post, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) said today it launched the Google Phone Gallery, which will serve as a showcase of phones. However, it won’t sell devices. Google learned that lesson the hard way when it completely underestimated how hard it would be to sell unlocked devices at full price directly to consumers. (At the time of writing, the site was sometimes down and reverting to the old page where it was once trying to sell the Nexus One).
The gallery will not be comprehensive, but will come in handy since the number and variety of Android devices have reached unmanageable levels. Google claims there’s roughly 60 Android phones being sold that were built by 20 different handset makers and being sold in 49 countries. Google will only list devices that come with the Android Market, Google Search and other services, such as maps and YouTube. Consumers will be able to use the web site to compare phones side by side: filter phones by country, manufacturer, and carrier; and view and compare technical specs and features.
Google will provide information on where each phone is available for sale. So far the database includes 21 phones from HTC, LG (SEO: 066570), Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Samsung on AT&T (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S), T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Google says the list will grow as it adds countries and phones as they come to market.