Google has reversed course on its plans to sell its Nexus One device online.
It is no longer selling a device for Verizon Wireless in the US, and will sell the phone in Europe solely through operator partners.
Its Nexus One website, which previously said the phone would go on sale in partnership with Verizon in Q4, now directs would-be buyers to another Android-based handset, the HTC Incredible.
The change of plan has prompted speculation that the company irritated Verizon, the largest US mobile operator, with its attempt to sell devices directly to consumers.
“It’s really a flop for Google,” BGC Partners’ Colin Gillis told Bloomberg. “It paid a price to roll out their own branded phone -- it’s a price of trust and relationship with some of the other players in the space.”
Gillis estimated Google had sold less than half a million Nexus One devices since its January debut.
Google has forbidden US operators from selling the phone in their retail stores, forcing customers to buy it online without a contract.
Separately, Google said yesterday the Nexus One would be available in Europe through operators' retail shops, FT.com reported.
However, Vodafone has revealed it is accepting pre-orders for the device on its website, ahead of its official launch in the UK on April 30. Subscribers who pre-order and sign up to a £35 (€40.59) per month price plan for two years get the device free.
The carrier will extend sales into Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and France in May
Only consumers in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK can buy the Nexus One through Google's US online store.