Google Nexus One’s First Week Sales Disappointing?

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Mobile analytics firm Flurry has released its estimates for first-week sales of Google’s brand-new Nexus One “superphone”…and the results aren’t great. Despite substantial pre-announce hype, according to Flurry the Nexus One managed just to sell just 20,000 units in its first week of availability. In comparison, the Droid managed to move 250,000 units during its first week on sale in November, and the myTouch managed to sell 60,000 units in its first week—and those were also first-generation smartphones build on the Android operating system.

“Google, in an effort to avoid channel conflict with T-Mobile, appears to have set the direct-to-consumer price for the handset at over $500 dollars, the high price point combined with the fact that the handset is only considered an “evolutionary” improvement over previous Android devices, indicates that Google did not take the steps to maximize first week sales,” wrote Flurry’s marketing VP Peter Farago, in the company’s blog.

Of course, there were some key differences between the launches of the myTouch and the Droid as compared to the Nexus One. For one thing, the Nexus One launched directly in the wake of the end-of-year holiday buying season, a time when consumers traditionally are tallying up their bills (and debts) from end-of-year purchases and aren’t inclined to lay out more money for an expensive item. Further, the myTouch and Droid both received significant television and and carrier advertising—the Droid alone reportedly commands a $100 million advertising campaign. In contrast, Google is (barely) promoting the Nexus One, and only through online channels. Further, during the last week, the Nexus One has also generated negative buzz amongst some mobile enthusiasts for spotty 3G service from T-Mobile and poor customer support.

T-Mobile has just unveiled a pricing change on Nexus One upgrade pricing for existing T-Mobile customers: qualifying customers will be able to upgrade to a Nexus One for $279 instead of $379. Customers who paid the $379 upgrade price will receive a $100 refund from Google via their Google Checkout account within 14 business days.

Just as a point of comparison, Vodafone just began selling the iPhone 3GS in the UK, becoming the third carrier in the country to offer the handset…and its moved 50,000 units all by itself on the first day of sales, despite only being able to offer the phone after the Christmas holidays. Of course, the iPhone is currently in its third generation, and ha substantial market and brand awareness.

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