Google Nexus One goes the way of the Kin

The Nexus One, a smartphone developed by Google, will soon be discontinued in the US.

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    The Nexus One will still be sold in some international markets, but Google will discontinue US sales. At left, Google reps unveil the Nexus One at Google HQ, in January of 2010.
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The Google Nexus One is no more. Not that we didn't see it coming. As we noted back in March, Google unloaded only 135,000 Nexus One handsets in the first 74 days the phone was available, a relatively paltry launch for a much-hyped phone. (By comparison, Apple sold its first million iPhones in the same amount of time. The first Droids sold at an even faster rate.) Nexus One sales remained sluggish through 2010, and even a move to bring the phone to brick-and-mortar retail outlets didn't seem to help much.

Late last week, Google definitively shut the door on future Nexus One sales in the US, while promising that customer support for existing Nexus One owners would remain in place. In addition, Google said Vodafone in the UK and KT in Korea would continue to sell Nexus One handsets – and hinted that other carriers might also get in on the act, depending on "local market conditions."

So how, exactly, did the lifespan of the Nexus One stack up against other comparable smartphones? Well, on the one hand, you have a phone such as the Sidekick, which launched in 2002, and was repeatedly re-introduced in various configurations. After eight years on the market – and as the iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X were rolled out – interest in the Sidekick fell. T-Mobile pulled the plug on the little-phone-that-could this month.

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On the other hand, consider a smartphone such as the pint-sized Microsoft Kin. The Kin reportedly cost Microsoft billions of dollars to develop, but after a major marketing campaign – which was keyed toward young, hip users – the phone was summarily yanked from store shelves. Some rumors put the number of Kin handsets sold at 500. An iPhone killer, it wasn't.

The Nexus One falls somewhere between a Sidekick/iPhone success and a Kin failure. The Nexus One didn't hit the predictions originally outlined by Morgan Stanley – 3 million by 2011 – but then again it didn't totally tank, either. Reviews were strong, press interest was high – and hey, there's even talk of a Google Nexus Two, somewhere on the horizon.

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