back to article Google chief: Nexus One was 'so successful, we killed it'

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has convinced himself that the company killed its sold-direct-to-netizen Nexus One phone after less than six months because it was "so successful." "The idea a year and a half ago was to do the Nexus One to try to move the phone platform hardware business forward. It clearly did," Schmidt told The …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too bad

    In the past, Google has been better then the others at communicating in a more honest and straight-forward way with their customers.

    Sorry to see that gone.

  2. Teoh Han Hui

    Wrong focus?

    In the US, most customers are bound to contracts with their carriers and that's what failed it (just like how other unlocked phones never sell well in the US market).

    If only they've pushed it out worldwide through retail stores... It was only available in few select markets, and many would like to have a feel of the phone they're buying.

    1. geekguy

      Never did see why they sold like that

      I was shocked that google decided to sell the phone direct it was the exact reason I could not buy it. I get all my handsets through my provider, orange, I do this because that is the norm in this country and I had always assumed it was everywhere else.

      Seems it is in the states too I didn't buy a nexus one because I was unable to and it was too expensive without the subsidy from a contract.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Elsewhere the market indeed works differently, to the point that you might find a lively market in resellers selling contracts-with-phone or "sim-only" contracts for below what the provider will give you, taking some and passing on some of the sign-on subsidy. With laws protecting "number portability" up to a certain point* it isn't that much of a hassle to change providers once every one or two years. This also means unlocked phones are widely available for the full price. And then there's rules like the one saying that sim locked phones must be unlockable on request one year after purchase, so it makes little sense to try and sell your phone second hand with the lock still in place. If that's not fast enough, numerous third parties will do it for a (small) fee, at your risk of course. Sometimes you even find the phone sold with your contract comes without being locked to any brand of sim--as a selling point.

        * You'd have to stay in the same area code when moving to be able to port your number, but mobile numbers don't have that restriction since they're in their own prefix.

  3. Dazzz


    "It was so successful, we didn't have to do a second one. "

    When is his planets orbit next due to coincide with ours?

    1. BrentRBrian


      Did he room with G W Bush in college ?

  4. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    So, you can whistle for firmware updates then!

    Which, I'm sure, it will need muchly.

    1. T-Unit

      Not at all

      It is running 'vanilla' Android which means it gets the updates first as there is no Sense UI or carrier BS to slap on before pushing it out. It's already had two updates ota including the latest version of Android 2.2 (or FroYo).

      The Fail is all yours

      1. Mr Brush
        Thumb Up


        Completely agree. I bought a Hero at the same time my mate bought his N1. He's had 2.2 for a while, I've only just got 2.1.

        While the Hero's Sense UI is pretty, it's undocumented and a pain to target for development, making the Android 'fragmentation' even worse.

        I'd happily trade my Hero for an N1, and I hope that the moves afoot in 3.0 (Gingerbread) kill off custom UIs altogether.

        It's a shame there won't be an N2, but if Android moves in the right direction, there won't need to be another GooglePhone, all Android handsets will be running a vanilla OS.

      2. rcdicky

        Love it when ppl get owned :P

        Well done :D

  5. Across-the-pond Scum
    Big Brother

    From a Nexus One owner, I'm disappointed but understand the logic to a degree.

    The US market is so messed up and in reality it's a combined screwing from both the manufacturers and the carriers. I am utterly overjoyed with my Nexus. From my standpoint, it blows the iPhone 3GS out of the water and is already dangerously close in comparable specs to the iPhone 4--with no antenna issues. The problem is that the Android market is fragmented from manufacturers putting their glossy finish on the software and the carriers trying to tailor and lock down the "open" OS something they can control and support. I wasn't planning on doling out the cash for an unsubsidized N1 until I sampled what AT&T did to the OS with pathetic Backflip. And from there it was just insult upon injury as the level of draconian control put upon the phones turned them from possible Windows Mobile successors to a pale and dismal shadow of the iPhone. And from what I learned across the board, that this wasn't limited to the 1+ year old hardware found in the Backflip, but to all AT&T Androids. Other carriers were better and worse in other departments. More freedom, but a poor network to less choices and average billing and quality. Frankly, I'm with a good chunk of AT&T geeks, we love the network, because for the majority of markets they're better than the competition. But I despise AT&T for their lack of customer care and the contractual need to attempt to nickle and dime us to death for apps and what they're obligated to provide.

    Google had the right idea, and because of that, it pissed off the manufacturers and the carries in trying to do it. HTC was the only real winner in this as they got to make the N1, and subsequently patterned the Desire after it. The rumored thought behind the next OS update is to get all the manufacturers to make phones with the base minimums and be able to get updates directly without having to go through the Google ver to the MFG ver to the carrier approved version. The interaction between the last two is what created the vast fragmentation between v1.5, 1.6, 2.1 and now 2.2. If Google is able to keep everything on the same level field than Android will prosper and outpace Apple.

    Sadly if Google decided to push out a Nexus Two or something, then they'll just succeed in pushing Android out of the market as the carriers and manufacturers will just stop using it and go back to what they used to do--which is bad, very very bad.

  6. Majid

    Never tell a lie..

    If you don't have to..

    What's so bad about saying, we killed of Nexus One because we didn't want to compete with our partners? Everybody is assuming that anyway. No matter what you tell.

    The lie just makes you look like a little boy, coming up with stupid excuses for its own failures. You might as well say we won't do a Nexus Two because the dog ate the design. Just as believable.

  7. ceebee

    not in Australia...

    Well Google may have "killed" the Nexus in most of the world but here in Australia it has just been released!

    Maybe they just have excess stock?

    1. fandom

      Not anywhere

      According to the article they killed the nexus two, I bet HTC will keep making the nexus one as long as they get orders for them

  8. dalboz


    Eric Schmidt is a complete tool. This is the guy who said "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you should not be doing it in the first place"

    The man is just a walking denial-bot, so these delusions come as no surprise

    1. Goat Jam


      Nope, what he actually said was something like "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you should not be talking about it on the internet"

      He was suggesting that precautions need to be taken and that people should not rely on internet companies such as Google to ensure their anonymity but I understand that phrasing it in terms such as yours is much better for provoking collossal amounts of righteous indignation amongst the commentard community.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Goat Jam

        Actually, the fail is yours. If you doubt it, check out the video where he says it here:

  9. j-g

    he might be right

    Although they didn't sell a lot of them, I think the Nexus One had a role in putting pressure on other manufacturers of Android phones.

    Without it, there would have been no reference of how good a clean, non provider-modified, and easily updateable phone can be. It's the phone that shows everyone when a new Android version is out and that they should be getting it on their phone, too.

    While most manufacturers are still pretty bad about updating their phones, at least the high end ones can't afford to not be updated, and that's largely due to the existence of the Nexus One.

  10. b166er

    Funny really,

    that the Desire which is basically the Nexus One in a different jacket is flying off the shelves.

    1. Raumkraut

      Desire One

      The difference in the case of the Desire is that it is actually on shelves from which it can fly.

  11. Jeff 11

    Google stupidity

    The Nexus was a waste of R&D time, probably made a loss, and certainly put them on the shit list of their partners. But let's top it off by calling it a success and reinforce the idea that you're a prick who can't possibly admit you had a bad idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Well, the Nexus hardware was made by HTC, who make phones anyway, and they went on to use the good bits in the Desire, which is selling phenomenally well in the UK. So google's R&D time went into Android, which is growing, and which they were developing anyway.

      Not sure why you're dseperate to insist otherwise, but as long as you're happy I expect Eric Schmidt probably is too.

  12. David McMahon

    Yeah they

    Did quite well the first year of Search but gave it up, that Bing has 90% of the market now!....

    Oh hang on its this Universe!

  13. Gazman

    Some reading for Mr Schmidt

    Frankfurt, Harry. "On Bullsh*t", Princeton University Press, 2005

  14. gautam

    He is right there!

    Google Nexus one raised the bar in one stroke (for hardware and software).

    Imagine if it was only software they were peddling, how hard would it have been to convince so many manufacturers to "adopt" the android platform without the modifications and rampant cripppling that ccomes with it.

    So success, yes. AND a very timely and good wakeup call for others too, to up their offerings.!

    Else we might still be suffering the SYmbains and measly Uis of SE/Pre or the imob.

    They didnt need to kick ass again. If it wasnt for Nexus one, we would get the HTC Desire or the newer offerings in the pipeline for sure!

    Even Nokia saw the light and freed Symbian (playing catchup) cos it was becoming stale.

    So here's one for Schmidt for uttering the truth.

    1. Daniel 1

      Quietly brilliant

      This time last year Android was in danger of stagnating. None of the manufacturers who shipped Android phones seemed to want anything to do with Google, directly, and the result was that the market was full of cheap-ass Android 1.x phones with locked down user interfaces and twelve-month-old feature sets. By working closely with Google to produce the best handset it could, HTC was able break out into the front of the market, and at take Android with it. At the same time, the company did a lot to achieve Cher Wang's ambitious goal, of turning HTC into a known and recognised manufacturer, in its own right. (How many people outside of the industry would have been able to tell you anything about HTC, eighteen months ago?)

      In deciding to move her company away from being an Original Equipment manufacturer, to a high-street brand, Wang was taking a fairly brave bet. Google may have riled its partners with the Nexus One, but that is nothing compared to what happened to HTC's chances of going back to making OEM handsets for other companies.

      The real lie that dare not speak its name, is that Google is still trying to work out how to pull off "an IBM": i.e. get everyone using your technology while not directly owning any of it yourself. The obvious step is simply to invent things so compelling that everyone has to license it off you - and if you license it to them for free, or virtually so, the chances of being hauled up for anti trust is much reduced. Everyone is far so busy making money with the things you invent for them, that they never stop and ask themselves if they have any other choice.

      The problem facing Google, last year, was that people weren't even bothering to use the latest (or even a particularly recent) version of the operating system; and you can't do much to direct the course of events while that is happening.

      Google needed to kick start that process, and largely succeeded. Would we have the present world - where every article about handsets dissolves into juvenile willy waving about what "handset X or Y could already do, six months ago" - if the manufacturers were still using the Android equivalent of RHEL 3?

  15. mlo0352
    Thumb Up

    I agree

    Whether or not it was a successful (profit making) venture, it did push the bar forward for phones. It was an android phone that was powerful, had android without any stupid gui overlays, etc. It standardized the hardware that is to be used on all current and future models...I would call it a success.

  16. Qwixel

    The smell of success

    I gotta wonder if he has his office repainted every time the google home page changes (to match, in solidarity you know?) Clearly the fumes are starting to get to the poor fellow.

    Can you imagine what happened when they added the custom background images? No wonder they cancelled it - he needed time to install a window that could open!

  17. RegisterThis

    I don't think anybody in the industry would disagree?

    ... I think most people in the industry understood 100% that the ultimate aim of it was to move Android along and in terms of phone development and the now sales figures and the subsequent slew of 'Nexus Killer' Android phones that came out it succeeded?

    Did anybody genuinely think HTC was happy to manufacture a phone for Google so it could eat their breakfast??? Of course not. I buy his logic 100%!

  18. John Doe 1

    Sounds like Microsoft has a huge success on their hands then

    If that's Mr Schmidts definition of success... then the Microsoft Kin One and Two seems to be a runaway success having just been killed off due to a stunning lack of sales.

    Google makes fine products including Android but that odd statement was certainly not their finest moment.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Schmidt's talking crap yes but....

    I still love my Nexus One and will be disappointed that Google will not be producing new versions going forward. Does this mean the end of Google Experience devices full stop??

  20. thomas k.
    Jobs Horns

    not really lying ....

    probably the result of exposure to Steve's reality distortion field while hanging out in coffee shops together.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    An alternative view would be ...

    They said AT LAUNCH they'd be happy to sell 150,000. They've sold 500,000. CEO comes out to say they were happy it was a success.

    What am I missing?

  22. fandom
    Thumb Down

    Some logic you've got there

    Schmidt is talking about the decision of not making a Nexus two while Andy rubin is talking about not selling them on their own website.

    Two completely unrelated topics yet you put them together as is they were contradicting each other.

    That's the kind of dialectics I have come to expect from biased political comentary, please don't.

    Pretty please

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Great Success

    Google should do even more and go a step further.

    Apart from standardised offerings (&free-unlike the clutches of Apple inc), they should now be in a position to prove to the public that the carriers are merely that. (Dumb pipes if you prefer) and stop messing around with stupid controls and crippling of phones that manufactureres are happy to make provided they agree to take and/or subsidize them. It will remove the subsidy model and "help" them concentrate on being good at being the "dumb pipes" they are. They have had it cushy and comfy (monopolistic) for too long now.

    With mobile phones commoditised, its now let the best ones win (Software and hardware wise) scenario.

    Free and pretty good (better than Iphone OS) Android has proved this can work and Nexus one was the instance and example Google used for. They have made Android mainstream for free for others to improve. Hell, even Nokia had to give free, their maps and navigation.

    Its been a game changer, as I see it. It now depends on Joe public and manufactureres to decide which way the industry goes, and not the carriers.

    Paris, cos there isnt a Schmidt Icon!

  24. James Whale
    Thumb Down

    I take issue with this:

    "At launch, Google said that the Nexus One belonged to a new super class of handset — even though it couldn't match the Motorola Droid (according to none other than Google open source guru Chris DiBona) — let alone the iPhone."

    Piffle - the iPhone is technically inferior to the Nexus One in almost every respect. The only thing that distinguishes it is a slicker UI.

  25. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Up

    Minor success

    I think you must choose your baseline creatively: Nexus One was an ASTOUNDING success.

    That is, when compared to the Microsoft Kin phone ( ), now retired after +- 500 sold.

  26. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Seems to me ...

    That Google had 'a good idea' (TM), built their demonstration platform, proved their point and have now moved on. Much like an engine manufacturer producing a car to showcase it, with big car companies now convinced and buying engines they have no need for a car which would compete with those manufacturers.

    Maybe Google had dreams of world domination in the mobile arena and perhaps that hasn't materialised, so a failure in that respect, but I'm inclined to let them have their spin and recognise the success they did have.

    And we're still talking about Google and Android so that's not a bad thing from their perspective.

  27. Stefing

    A shame

    It was a very brave move and consumers would have won if the business model had taken off, but lack of marketing and the Apple-fawning media means that those of us with Nexus Ones can consider ourselves part of an elite ;)

  28. mhenriday

    Schmidt is always good for a laugh - or a shiver down the spine

    - but he may not be entirely off the mark here ; Android does seem to be making it big time. Pity for users, however, that the release of the Nexus One did not suffice to engender the replacement of the current, patently dysfunctional market model, in which one «purchases» a subsidised device (not a «phone», of course, as the ability to make telephone calls on it seems to be the least important feature) from a carrier in return to being locked in to that carrier's exorbitantly priced «services» for a long period of time with a better model. But who cares about users ?...


  29. Horace Goes Skiing

    Best of the bunch

    Well, I have an HTC Magic, Motorola Milestone, HTC Desire and Nexus One (two actually, one for the misses).

    The Milestone was a rip off in terms of hackabilitiy, Motorola screwed the Europeans over with their lockdown of the bootloader, crap .sbf files installed via Windows tools (I am a Linux guy). It was nice for mmm, a few months.

    The HTC Desire is and was my favorite, until I got my hands on the Nexus One for the misses, then got one for myself. The Sense UI is great, but I can live without it as the stock UI is improving greatly.

    God bless the Nexus One, although I do want too see how long it takes Froyo to hit the Desire and see the end result ;-) ... till then it sits in a box

  30. Anonymous Coward

    phony world!

    some CEO people do live in a phony world (no punt intended) ! this is an excellent example

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Nexus One is proof that standard out of the box Android is a nice user experience. The hardware is as solid as all hell, since HTC really have their shit together with this smartphone lark.

    When I abandoned my last helplessly buggy Nokia, I bought an HTC Desire. It's excellent, like a return to having a decent PDA, and quite the luxury device. I do admit that I would have gone for the N1 though, were I able to easily buy one at the time- if only for the speed of updates; buying a smartphone is an exercise in toys for me, after all, I'm not on call to International Rescue or Global Frequency...

    I dunno, it was a bit barking and batshit in execution, but the N1 was a reassuring "look, here's a plain OOTB Android device, and it's great" reminder. I don't think it was ever intended as more than that. Nice phone, though.

  32. BritBloke


    Great phone. Bollocks marketing.

    Google changed their mind because they were pissing off too many people that they want to do business with. Shame in some ways as the N1 is great kit (I love mine more than is healthy. My wife and child can only look on jealously). However it's the best for android as a platform, so good call even if the justification is drivel.

  33. Rogerborg

    Small minds do so love to mock

    The Nexus One was a "You sell it, or we will" threat. Google basically blackmailed carriers into shipping their own Android solutions by making a credible threat to bypass them if they didn't.

    The success of the Nexus One is that OTHER Android handsets are flying off the shelves. If it had actually sold more itself, it would have failed in its primary mission.

    You may now resume your hooting and flinging of poop.

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