Yesterday evening (GMT), Andy Rubin, Vice President Engineering at Google announced at the Google blog, that - as the Nexus One will be available in more countries - Google will follow the same model it has adopted in Europe (with Vodafone), where Google is working with partners to offer Nexus One to consumers through existing retail channels and the company will shift to a similar model globally. As a matter of fact it means that once Google has increased the availability of Nexus One devices in stores, Google will stop selling handsets via its own web store, and will instead use it as an online store window to showcase a variety of Android phones available globally (similar to Microsoft which also shows available devices on its Windows Phone site but doesn't sell them directly).
Rubin explained the change with the acceptance of the online store: "While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It's remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from."
Google launched the Android 2.1-powered and by HTC manufactured Nexus One back in January with two goals in mind: to introduce a beacon of innovation among Android handsets and to make it quick and easy for people to buy an Android phone. However, while Google decided to partner internationally, for instance Vodafone is the exclusive partner in Europe where the Nexus One will be available through Vodafone, in the U.S. the Nexus One was sold through Google's own and new Android device online store.
This decision leaves it open if Google will follow-up with other own-branded devices, like the Nexus Two which is still expected to be the Motorola Shadow. However, this shift might make own-branded Google devices obsolete since it could mean that Google want to concentrate on partnerships.
Cheers ~ Arne