Google plans to take another shot at direct sales for its line of Nexus phones — Android smartphones that offer an unadulterated strain of the mobile OS. The plan would cut carriers out of the distribution loop, and it’s similar to something Google tried years ago. That plan flopped. This time, Google will have more manufacturers as partners and more devices, but will consumers accept unsubsidized prices?
Two years after its initial attempt to sell Nexus smartphones directly to consumers flopped, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is apparently trying to revive the strategy.
This time, though, it’s added a few new touches. It’s going to work with up to five device manufacturers at a time to create a portfolio of Nexus-line devices that include smartphones and tablets, and it will sell direct both through its website and possibly through some retailers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The devices will run on the next version of Android, which is expected to be called “Jellybean.” They will reportedly be ready for market by Thanksgiving.
The new Nexus smartphones will apparently be sold unlocked, meaning they won’t come with a wireless contract and will be able to run on different wireless networks through the use of a SIM card. Unlocked smartphones typically cost more because they don’t come with carrier subsidies.
“In a sense, Google is looking to separate the control operators have over device from their control over service design,” Michael Morgan, a senior analyst at ABI Research, told the E-Commerce Times. “Apple has done this to some extent, although it continues to recognize that the operators are still a very important key to handset distribution.”
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