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5/10/2010
03:55 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Nexus One For Sprint Is Dead

Sprint users hoping to get their hands on the Google Nexus One Android device should give up. Sprint has confirmed that it won't support the device, and Google has removed references to it from the Nexus One web site. Instead, Sprint hopes users will adopt the EVO 4G WiMax-powered Android smartphone.

Sprint users hoping to get their hands on the Google Nexus One Android device should give up. Sprint has confirmed that it won't support the device, and Google has removed references to it from the Nexus One web site. Instead, Sprint hopes users will adopt the EVO 4G WiMax-powered Android smartphone.I think we can say at this point that Google's grand scheme to change the way people buy cell phones is pretty much dead. Even though Google contends that the Nexus One is a successful business (a.k.a, in the black), in both reality and perception it has been a failure. Here's why.

First and foremost, most people who buy cell phones still do actually like to visit brick-and-mortar retail stores and put their hands on a potential cell phone before buying it. (As someone who recommends cell phones for a living, there's no substitute for the hands-on experience.) The idea of buying a cell phone sight unseen from a web site doesn't appeal to the masses. Yet that's exactly how Google hoped to sell the Nexus One.

The Nexus One was announced in early January as a pure Google Android experience. It was to only be available directly from Google. It was initially sold with cell radios only compatible with T-Mobile's network. Later, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint all announced that versions compatible with their networks would eventually be available. Alas, it never happened.

Just a few weeks ago, Verizon Wireless began redirecting those interested in the Nexus One to the HTC Droid Incredible's web site instead. When pushed for an answer, Verizon confirmed that a Verizon version of the Nexus One would not be made available.

Sprint is doing the same thing.

In a check to the Google Nexus One web site, it is obvious that all references to the CDMA / Sprint version of the Nexus One are now gone. Sprint spokesperson said in an email to InformationWeek, "We are not bringing in Nexus One as EVO 4G is more robust in 3G markets and amazing in the growing number of 4G areas."

This is to be expected. Sprint has a lot riding on the success of the EVO 4G, which will be its first WiMax-powered handset. In fact, Sprint is hosting a lavish launch event for the handset in New York City this week. Sprint needs the EVO 4G to be a smash hit. Given the impressive spec list of the device -- not to mention the WiMax radio buried inside -- it should be a solid seller for Sprint. The last thing Sprint needs at the moment is for a similarly-capable handset (i.e., the Nexus One), to go on sale alongside the EVO 4G and distract potential buyers.

It's an understandable strategic decision on Sprint's part. Had the Nexus One been ready for Sprint two or three months ago, things might be different. Now, Sprint has moved on.

The Nexus One for Sprint is officially kaput.

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