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Superphone, Meet Kryptonite: Google Kills The Nexus One

Back at the beginning of the year, Google had the mobile industry at the edge of its seat as it unveiled the HTC-made Google Nexus One, touting the device as a “superphone” that raised the bar for the entire smartphone industry and introducing a Web-only retail model for consumers to set their hands on the device, via partnerships with T-Mobile and AT&T. Now, following a difficult launch, Google learning that tech support for phones is neither simple nor easy, and having both Sprint and Verizon Wireless backing out of carrying the device, then shutting down that oh-so-innovative online phone store, Google is finally pulling the plug: one the current batch of Nexus One phones are sold, Google says the device will no longer be for sale in the United States.

“This week we received our last shipment of Nexus One phones,” Google wrote in a blog post. “Once we sell these devices, the Nexus One will no longer be available online from Google. Customer support will still be available for current Nexus One customers.”

Google says the Nexus One will continue to be offered by overseas partners, including KT in South Korea and Vodafone in Europe.

Although the Nexus One generally got positive reviews—leaving aside complaints about carrier service—the phone only managed weak sales (especially compared to the iPhone and the original Droid, which launched just before the Nexus One). The Nexus One was the first Android phone to get Android 2.2 “Froyo;” however, as a handset the device is quickly being eclipsed by devices like the HTC Evo 4G and Droid Incredible, the new Droid X, and the raft of Samsung Galaxy S handsets landing now at U.S. carriers. And, of course, the iPhone 4 continues to cast a long shadow on the mobile marketplace, antenna issues or no.

With the Android operating system now firmly launched into the mobile marketplace, the Nexus One might mark Google’s only branded foray into the smartphone arena. Google seems to have regarded the Nexus One as a way to test Android in the marketplace, as well as see if mobile consumers were ready to by phones via the Web rather than retail stores. Android seems to have been well received; Google online store and support, however, seem to have earned a shunned by phone buyers.

*Editors Note 7/19/2010 – We corrected the launch date of the Motorola Droid to reflect that it came out BEFORE the Nexus One, not after

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