Google's iPhone Challenger Loses Another Carrier

Dennis Faas's picture

Sprint has dropped plans to carry the Nexus One, Google's flagship cellphone. The news has somewhat undermined the revelation that Google's Android system is -- technically, at least -- outselling the iPhone. The news comes just weeks after Google cancelled plans to offer Nexus One with carrier Verizon. (Source:

The release of Nexus One, produced by HTC, marked the first time Google itself had directly marketed a phone based around its own open-source system, Android. The original plan was to have it available for all the major networks, but to engage in minimal advertising and to sell it solely through a Google website.

That's proved unsuccessful in two senses. Firstly, sales have been disappointing: one estimate is that in its initial ten weeks on sale, it sold around 135,000 copies, less than one-seventh of the sales achieved by the latest edition of the iPhone and Motorola Droid. Most analysts put this down to the online-only strategy, with buyers unable to see and examine the phone in stores.

Secondly, the multi-network idea didn't work out. While the phone can be bought on a T-Mobile service plan, AT&T customers can only get the handset by paying the full and unsubsidized price of $529. Meanwhile, Verizon customers are told simply to consider buying the HTC Droid Incredible instead.

Sprint Opts For Rival Handset

Sprint has now said it has changed its mind about carrying the phone and will instead concentrate efforts on the Evo 4G, another forthcoming Android phone. Ironically, the real winner there is HTC, which produces the Evo 4G. (Source:

Unfortunately for Google, this is one of the downsides of an open-source system such as Android: by definition, networks will always have other options for handsets to carry. That means success comes through having the best marketing and/or the best handset, neither of which can really be said to apply to the Nexus One.

Android Operating System Overtakes iPhone

In other Android news, it's been revealed that Android handsets actually outsold iPhones during the first three months of the year. Analysts NPD group estimate that 28 per cent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. over this period were running Android, compared with 21 per cent running the iPhone system. RIM, makers of the BlackBerry, took top spot with 36 per cent. (Source:

It's worth noting that the figures may be distorted by the timescale: it's extremely likely that the period covering the release of the new iPhone this summer will see Apple regain a hefty lead over Android phones.

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