back to article Carrier apathy depresses Google Phone outlook

Google is discovering just how dangerous it is to ruffle the feathers of the major cellcos. Its Nexus One handset may be one of the most advanced on the market and bear the magical brand, but half-hearted marketing efforts by carriers have led to disappointing sales. Now, analysts at Goldman Sachs have slashed their estimates …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Er. No.

    How about monthly cell phone bills of >$125/mo? I wanted a Nexus, but that killed me. That's more than I pay for broadband at home.

    1. MartinD

      How much?!

      Where did you get that figure from?

  2. Sean Bergeron
    Jobs Halo

    Openness wins again

    I mean, people care about the carrier more than the phone, right? I mean, people haven't ever changed carriers to get a new, specific type of phone!

    1. Mad Hacker

      You're joking right?

      I always choose my hardware and go with whatever carrier has the hardware. Almost always there's an exclusive agreement with a single carrier in the US for any cool/new phone. I can't imagine choosing a carrier for the sake of, uh, whatever. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks my carrier is a dumb pipe but I've had that attitude since my first smartphone in 2003.

  3. Paul Webb

    Don't these figures look more respectable...

    for what is, essentially, the hardware part of a devkit?

  4. the midtoad

    can't buy it

    well of course sales are lower than they'd like - you can't buy it in many places, including Canada. And even if you get one out of the US, you won't have 3G data speed, since the only model sold is only able to get high-speed data on the T-Mobile network. Google still hasn't released a version that will run on AT&T's network, or Rogers, Telus or Bell networks.

    It's like Google is deliberately trying to fail.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is absolutely Google's own fault.

    It wasn't carrier 'apathy'. It was completely deliberate on the part of the carriers.

    Google :- you tried to stiff your partners, and you got what you deserved. You can't get away with doing this in any market you haven't cornered. You're not Microsoft yet.

    1. Argh
      Jobs Horns


      I think that you mean Apple.

      Microsoft have allowed carriers to add and remove default applications and functionality from their OS and completely replace the UI (e.g. the older Orange HTC devices) for many years. This looks like it may be reduced somewhat in the upcoming Windows Phone 7 though.

      Apple came along and told the operators they had to provide flat rate data and give them a cut of the contract price. Or else *threatening glare*.

      1. Bilgepipe
        Jobs Halo


        Yeah, and look at what a failure that iPhone thingy turned out to be.

        Read it slowly: users don't care about the crap you iPhone haters spew.

  6. Alastair 7

    Re: Er. No.

    "How about monthly cell phone bills of >$125/mo?"

    You've been shafted. I pay $59 a month for 500 minutes, unlimited text and web. Yes, with my Nexus One.

    1. Mad Hacker
      Thumb Down

      I have to give them my social security number before I can see pricing plans?

      Went to the website to get the details of your plan pricing disparity. I have to give them my drivers license number and social security number just to see the plan pricing?!

  7. Alastair 7

    Re: can't buy it

    "And even if you get one out of the US, you won't have 3G data speed, since the only model sold is only able to get high-speed data on the T-Mobile network"

    No, it's able to get 3G speeds in the *vast majority* of networks. The fact that the North American operators have decided to buck the worldwide trend isn't Google's fault.

    1. Lee Chong Yew

      Can't buy it

      I tried visiting the page for the phone, fat chance buying it. It just told me that the phone isn't available in my area. The pathetic thing is, it's available for rich neighbour Singapore to buy, but not us poorer Malaysians.

      Doesn't really matter tho. I went for a Nokia N97 instead, and have never been happier. I was looking to add a secondary phone to my primary HTC TyTN WinMo phone and settled for the Symbian set after Google turned me down on the Nexus One, and I wasn't disappointed. The fact that my favourite WinMo software also exists for Symbian is also a major plus.

      Coat? The one with two smartphones in the pocket, thanks.

    2. James Halliday


      I happily ordered my N1 on launch day and had it shipped to the UK.

      Shoved in my Vodafone SIM and was up and working instantly. The US is home of the weird standards - CDMA and GSM frequencies. In the rest of the world it just worked fine.

  8. Jason DePriest

    Hello. I'll be your title this evening.

    I'm waiting for the Nexus Six.

  9. Greg Fawcett
    Thumb Up

    Marketing is King

    I got a Nexus sent over to NZ for much less than the cost of an Iphone, and pay NZ$30/month to run it (voice+3G data). It is simply AWESOME - if I had a magic wand, the only thing I'd change would be a battery that lasts forever. Everything else is that good.

    Which just goes to show that marketing now rules our world. You can build the perfect phone, and no-one will buy it because they aren't instructed to by flashy adverts. Sad.

  10. Synthmeister


    The question is whether or not the Android market continues to grow at a good pace. If Android is thriving, Google couldn't care less if Nexus is a smash or not. Either way, it probably pushed the OEMs and Telcos to get the latest android kit out the door faster which helps Google.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go for HTC Desire

    So be it.

    Its the same model (better spec) and workable in Quad band. Plus carrier subsidy.

    Hell why not then, Google? Tried to be Applesque and got cold feet now? Well deserved.

    At least theyll reduce the prices now?

    He He He

    1. Tech Hippy

      HTC Desire is not the same...

      They saved on hardware costs by dropping the second microphone used for noise cancellation from the Desire, added the SenseUI layer which means Android updates will take longer to trickle through.

      Oh and the Nexus One is quad band too.

      1. James Halliday

        OH FFS

        lets not get into a pissing war with ourselves - we should just ensure we collectively piss on every post from an iphone fan-boy.

        In all seriousness, the UI on the N1 is lovely - but I've not used Sense, so I'm not going to get confrontational over it. I like the idea of a non-mechanical scroller, but then I do like the fact my trackball flashes to let me know I've got a message (and colour codes the flashes on the type).

        I'm running a custom Cyanogen mod on my phone - and that's the reason I like Android. The fact he's just got the published source, added in the extra stuff the geeky people wanted - and been able to push out a file with all that loveliness in. e.g. I now have a load more memory, a tethering checkbox on my config page and some busty-lady wall-paper... well OK, maybe not everything was essential, but it's nice.

        Personally I just want to get myself off my ipod touch. I loved it, but suddenly started to realize for the first time (and I use windows) that I was getting very very locked in.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Mugs game

    why pay silly prices for a Andorod 2.1 Nexus one, when you can get a HTC Hero for £126 on T-Mobile for £10 a month with unlimited data and a bolt-on of your choice (unlimited land-line calls), with a 2.1 Android update coming in the next month or so...

    All Google care about is the Android platform growing (which it is, it's sky rocketing), if a particular handset makes it or not does not matter to them.. They aren't in it to sell handsets, they are in it to push the android platform..

    The fact the editor of this "article" cannot see that destroys it's credibility.

    1. Edward Noel

      Re: Mugs Game

      I agree that Google care about growing the Android platform, but I think they really cared about selling the Nexus too. Most people refer to it as "the Google phone", and a lot of prestige was riding on its success, especially as an iPhone-beater. It looks to me like Google's attempt to sell (near) own-branded phones directly will just be a flash in the pan.

  13. El Limerino

    Shocked and surprised

    My my -- Google has been taught that marketing -- the thing that engineers think they know how to do, but in reality have no clue about -- might actually be important when it comes to a consumer device!

    Welcome to the real world. Next up: having one business (say, advertising) constantly bankroll hugely cash-burning badly thought-out other parts of your business can't work forever.

  14. Usko Kyykka

    Service contract & phone

    It would seem to result in more actual competition and choice for the consumer if the networks were not allowed to combine these (as is the case in some countries):

    - Such a combination obfuscates the cost to the consumer, making comparison more difficult, thereby effectively reducing competition.

    - This very arrangement would seem to enable the networks' grip on the device providers, with the result of limiting consumer choice.

    In general this would seem like yet another case of business actively avoiding competition. Where possible, this sort of thing should be rooted out by regulation as competition is supposed to keep business honest, that is, the terms to the consumer reasonable.

  15. James Anderson

    Android yes -- Nexus no

    Just an HTC model and stick your SIM in. There is no need to involve the "carrier" other than negotiaitng the best data package.

    My cute little "magic" phone supports both 3g and EDGE plus quadband voice.

    3g has limited coverage where I live so I stuck with my old number and an EDGE connection. Other than establishing how to pre-pay for data access there was no need to involve any carrier.

    Have you ever worked out what these "free phone" post-paid contract deals actually cost?

    My missis had to sign up in order to get her fashion victim iPhone. It costs four times as much to run as my pre-paid deal and my "magic" was not only considerably cheaper than her god-phone its not actually as good as the HTC kit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      TCO for a Nexus One over 18 months with *similar* services available to O2 iPhone users (*unlimited* Wifi, Data etc.) approx £1100, same period with O2 for 3Gs? 16GB £879 32GB £979. It's even less for the iPhone over 24 months. Just saying like...

      1. Chris Lowe

        TCO? Surely N1 is way cheaper

        "TCO for a Nexus One over 18 months with *similar* services available to O2 iPhone users (*unlimited* Wifi, Data etc.) approx £1100, same period with O2 for 3Gs? 16GB £879 32GB £979. It's even less for the iPhone over 24 months. Just saying like..."

        Bought an N1 from the US for £390 (*including* VAT); Can get SIM only contract from Virgin with 300 anytime/anynetwork mins, unlimited texts and unlimited internet for £18/mo. Add £80 or so for a 32gb microsd. That makes the N1 about £800 over 18 months. I'm sure there are other options. And IIRC Virgin Mobile use O2 for the HSDPA/3G and T-Mobile for voice, so I guess that's similar enough to the iPhone offering?

        This approach has minimal lock-in, so Google could release another phone in a year or so (A "super-duper" phone?) where I'm sure I can get a good price on eBay for my N1, upgrade to the new phone for significantly less and not have to sit out the remainder of a 24 month contract...

        The N1 is an absolute belter - I've never used a phone so much, highly recommended.

  16. Martin 75


    This just shows that these "highly paid analysts" are nothing more than overpaid fan-boys. Whenever Apple, Google etc release a new product, these types are queuing up to give them wildly optimistic outlooks in the vague hope some trimming fall off the machine into their lap.

  17. UkForest

    Along With...

    I'd love this to fail nearly as much as Tesco Direct!...

    1. Jolyon


      Why would anyone care?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    The whole mobile busines is apathetic

    I'm due for an upgrade soon and Orange still don't actually offer it. This is one customer that wants it, and they don't offer it.

    Talking about apathy, how's this for an apathetic manufacturer. Instead of going for the Nexus One, I was thinking of an HTC Touch Diamond 2...

    Dear Sir/Madam, I am considering purchasing the Touch Diamond 2. All my PCs at home run Linux. I would like to ask whether this phone comes with support software written for Linux and if it doesn't, how would Ig et my data on/off the phone, and also apply software updates.


    Hi Michelle

    Thank you for contacting our Customer Support Center.

    You recently wrote us about an issue that you have encountered with your device.

    At the moment we can not support MAC computers. You must contact the MAC Support Center to download the drivers. In the future there will be an upgrade for MAC computer, but I can not give you the exact date when it will happen.

    If the above steps do not resolve your issue, we invite you to visit the support area on our Web site. Please go to:

    You can also call our Call Center at: +44 xxxxxxxxxx if you have further questions.

    Best Regards


    Who asked about MAC computers? I asked about Linux.


    Hello Michelle

    You need to find some 3rd party apps or you need to contact there support senter for drivers.

    Best regards,


    So ... there isn't any USB drive mode option or anything like that? Bluetooth sharing or Bluetooth drive mode or something? No mechanism to copy an update file to the phone memory for it to flash from there ...


    Hello Michelle

    We havent got any options for this issue at the moment. Ifyou contact there support they can help you through.

    Best regards,


    So HTC's support desk is manned by dyslexic people who don't read the e-mails properly and are a few technical screws short of a picnic. Rrrriiiiggghhhhhttt......

  19. Ian Michael Gumby

    I'll wager Nexus doesn't break the million mark ...

    The analysts who put the phone on track for 1 million phones are probably not factoring in the early adoption factor that people bought based on Google's name.

    As it was pointed out, the features found are available on other phones and those phones are discounted as part of a contract. Google's not so much.

  20. Wizard of Oz

    Nexus two by Motorola? Aww snap

    Google are more likely to have poor sales if Motorola manufactures the Nexus Two.

    Am I the only one who thinks that owning a Motorola phone is the equivalent of having someone drop a cleavland steamer on your hand?

    Poor reliability, poor design, poor signal strength. In all of my experiences anyway.

    On to the Nexus Three....

  21. sleepy

    No big deal

    This wasn't a commitment to selling phones in large volume. Google just told HTC what to make, branded a batch of HTC phones and switched on Android multitouch to draw out Apple into a patent fight with the sacrificial, patentless, HTC. The worst that can happen is Apple's patents stand up in court and little HTC is emasculated. Plenty of bigger manufacturers will make Android phones if need be. With a bit of luck, one or more Apple patents will be invalidated, and everyone can get on with copying iPhone properly.

  22. Gary F 1

    Nexus FAIL.

    Great news - absolutely love it.

    Prior to the iPhones launch, The Register, its writers, commentators and the nerdcore here all predicted its dismal failure

    Prior to the Nexus launch, The Register, its writers, commentators and the nerdcore all predicted its outstanding success.


    The iPhone spectacularly exceeds everybodies expectations.

    The Nexus FAILS spectacularly. 70% reduction in projected sales - ouch.

    Just fantastic that it is demonstrated how truly irrelevant and out of touch you all are.

    Please, bring on all your witty and clever retorts. Tell me how this phone and that phone are SO much better. Tell me how Apple are the big evil control freak corporation.

    NO-ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK! Have you not got that yet?

    Outside of your tiny elitist tech circles you are nothing. Very small (minded) fish in a big pond.

    I'm sure Apple quake with fear about your insightful observations and comments as they count the mountain of cash.

    I bet it really hurts when someone looks over your shoulder at your phone, and then turns up their nose, because it isn't an iPhone, but just a copy.

    I can hear you all now, desperately trying to explain and justify why the Nexus is so much better.

    I know because I've already heard an arrogant, snobby nexus owner try and fail to do just that.


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wanted to like Android...

    but I actually had the opportunity to play with an android phone (v1.6) and a laptop running android (v1.6 and v2.0) recently....

    Boy was I disappointed. It was sluggish, I couldn't enter a text message on the phone (the laptop worked ok - but then it has a physical keyboard), and although I could connect it to a wifi network, I couldn't access the anything over the wifi network (not even the access point).

    I like the idea of Android, but I think in terms of usability, (and it really kills me to say this) nothing comes close to the iPhone.

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