Nexus One Is Nexus Done

I wasn't trying to play Nostradamus when I called Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Nexus One "Nexus Done" four months ago. But now, Sprint has revealed that it won't sell the handset after all.

The news from the Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) camp comes just days after Verizon Wireless -- controlled by Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD  ) -- also bowed out as an originally announced distributor.

This leaves Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE: DT  ) T-Mobile as Nexus One's loudest cheerleader, which isn't good news for the search giant's first foray into a proprietary smartphone.

The good news for Google is that plenty of existing phones are built around its Android mobile operating system. Marketing research firm NPD Group even declared that Android-powered smartphones outsold Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) trendsetting iPhone during the first three months of the year.

Google knew the risks when it decided to make Android an open platform. It knew that Nexus One maker HTC would release the G1 model first, followed by a slew of other models. It knew that Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) would also beat it to the punch with its Android-powered Droid. Google's decision to try to throw its net as wide as possible in the name of market penetration may also explain why carriers aren't necessarily compelled to push Google's first self-marketed smartphone.

This may actually be good news for Google. Back in January, I figured that Google might go from friend to frenemy among handset makers if Nexus One was a big success.

"This could snowball into bigger problems for Nexus One," I wrote at the time, fearing that other hardware makers would abandon Android if it became too synonymous with Google's homegrown efforts. "After all, if Android's penetration is low, developers won't throw their weight behind the platform the way they have with Apple's App Store."

Thankfully, that scenario hasn't come to pass. Android is popular in several phones that aren't Nexus One, and the platform's success will attract many of the developers now building up Apple's most popular downloads.

Even if Google doesn't realize it yet, the Palm-esque fizzle of Nexus One may be the best thing that could happen to its promising Android platform.

Does Nexus One still have a shot? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. 

Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is mildly intrigued by Android smartphones, but not enough to loosen his iPhone grip. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy knows that roaming charges weren't billed in a day.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 4:31 PM, branon wrote:

    Too bad the Nexus One did not do better. I have one with AT&T and its a great phone- no reception issues unlike the tmobile versions.

    In any case, Google still needs to have a nexus one (two..three..four) out there...they need a stock device to show off flash and android Froyo next week! One that consumers (ie geeks) can get their hands on instead of having to wait months to get the OS updates.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 2:15 PM, topsecret09 wrote:

    Exactly what I said was going to happen... That darn Ol Topsecret making predictions that come true again.... TS

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2010, at 2:15 PM, topsecret09 wrote:

    LONG MOTORLOA..........

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