Flurry Estimates that Google Sold 80,000 Nexus One Smartphones in First Month

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Google sold approximately 80,000 of its Nexus One smartphones, according to analytical firm Flurry. If true, it would mean that the device is off to a slow start, despite the hype surrounding the leadup to the device, and the fanfare with which it was greeted after its release.

The Dow Jones wire service reported that Flurry based its estimations on mobile phone app usage as monitored by the company through participating app developers. The firm then extrapolated that usage into an overall estimate of the total number of Nexus Ones in use.

When it was first released, the original iPhone sold approximately 600,000 units in its first month of sales, and Apple announced the million unit mark 76 days after its release. At the time, those numbers were greeted by a mix of reactions between determining the device a success, deeming it a slow starter, with some pundits even calling it a failure.

If Flurry's numbers are right - and Google isn't commenting yet on sales numbers - the Nexus One sold approximately 13% of the number of units as the iPhone did in its debut month.

On the other hand, Dow Jones reporter Scott Morrison noted that Google has spent virtually nothing advertising the Nexus One, the same approach the company has successfully employed with virtually all of its products and services. Apple and AT&T, however, have put substantial resources into marketing the iPhone, with marketing being one of Apple's major strengths.

On the other, other hand, the Motorola Droid phone, the first very successful phone based on Google's Android operating system, sold 525,000 units in its first month of sales (according to Flurry), rivaling the original iPhone and also crushing the Nexus One.

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15 Comments Leave Your Own

jdtommy

You should not look at the numbers of nexus one units, but the number of android devices that have been sold.  Sure, The nexus one might not challenge the IPhone device, but Google in not trying to sell a single device, but the OS it self.  Google wants users to use it’s interface when mobile browsing/entertaining.  If you look at those numbers I think apple should be shaking in their boots.  Multiple devices - Multiple carriers - all using Google’s stuff.

Bryan Chaffin

jdtommy, Android OS versus iPhone is a useful comparison in understanding the market, but Google was attempting to compete with Apple’s iPhone business model (in some ways) with the Nexus One.

The company’s success or failure in pursuing that model is itself news, and is something the industry will be watching closely. If the company is successful with that model, it could shake up the entire industry.

If not, things will continue with Apple as the lone wolf with a whole widget approach amongst the sheep following the pre-existing industry model of OS developers licensing to hardware manufacturers who sell to carriers.

(Edit: RIM and Palm also have more of a whole widget approach than other vendors, so it’s not fair to label Apple a loan wolf here.)

Not that the Nexus One is truly a whole widget product, but it’s closer than other Android devices.

jdtommy

You are stating that that Google will not be successful in the mobile market unless it sells its own device and out sells the iphone.  I don’t see that they are trying that at all. Yes they did brand one device as their own, the nexus one, but that is not their entire goal with the mobile market.  If it were than why would Motorola be releasing 20 new android devices this year alone. They want market penetration with the OS not a device and if branding one device as their own will help them then why not try.

Bryan Chaffin

That’s not what I’m saying at all, mate.  What I am saying is that Android OS versus iPhone is one part of the smartphone market, whereas a Google-branded device versus iPhone is another story (literally, in this case) entirely.

(Edit: In other words, you initial point that Android OS is important as a whole is spot-on, but I think it incorrect to dismiss Nexus One to iPhone comparisons. This will be a very closely watched issue for the telecom industry.)

colinnwn

Bryan,

“but Google was attempting to compete with Apple?s iPhone business model (in some ways) with the Nexus One.”

I don’t see any evidence of this, and if they were, the comparison isn’t fair, because to create a new model, then compare it to a competing model, one must market it similarly intensively. Besides some online ads through their own system and good online reviews, Google has not tried to wholesale create a new cellular distribution model.

I think there is much more evidence Google was displeased with current handset makers implementation of Android, and they were trotting out their ideal implementation hoping it would get enough good industry press to push handset makers to do better.

Your lone wolf/whole widget paradigm I think is just another way to say Apple would prefer a closed ecosystem where users can only run what Apple distributes. They demonstrably don’t like jailbreaking. RIM and Palm are hybrids where they try to present solid company distribution, but do allow knowledgeable users to run apps from elsewhere (if not easily). Android is fairly open where it is reasonably easy to run apps distributed independently.

moew

Apple counts ordered/shipped units, including stock arriving or that will arrive at stores like ATT.  They aren’t “sold” units to consumers.

These Nexus One numbers are consumer sold units, so it is impossible to compare the numbers.

StevenN

@jdtommy & colinnwn,

From a market standpoint, that is true.  But likewise, it is important to count all the iPod Touch models sold as well.  The iPod Touch represents about an 80% to 90% boost to the number of iPhone OS devices compared to just iPhones.  Note that AdMob stopped counting them when Google bought them.  Makes Android look better.

As a developer, I would much rather target 80,000,000 unified iPhone OS devices compared to Android’s current 8 to 10 million units with different hardware and layouts.

Besides some online ads through their own system and good online reviews, Google has not tried to wholesale create a new cellular distribution model.

That is exactly what Google tried to do.  They have done extensive marketing through:

1) Google’s home page.  300,000,000 visits/day
2) Google main map page.
3) a HUGE volume of Ad Sense and placed ads.  This represents an opportunity cost of not placing ads for paying customers.

Steven

StevenN

@ moew

Apple counts ordered/shipped units, including stock arriving or that will arrive at stores like ATT.  They aren?t ?sold? units to consumers.

These Nexus One numbers are consumer sold units, so it is impossible to compare the numbers.

Yep, that explains it.  Apple had 1.92 million iPhone 3G/3G S’s sitting on the shelf unsold:-)

Bryan Chaffin

colinnwn:

Your lone wolf/whole widget paradigm I think is just another way to say Apple would prefer a closed ecosystem where users can only run what Apple distributes. They demonstrably don?t like jailbreaking.

In a word, duh (not intended to be confrontational or insulting, I just think this is well understood).

I am not sure how you can look at the Nexus One and not understand that Google is following in Apple’s footsteps.  The reasoning behind that decision surely follows the reasoning you laid out, but in the end it’s closer to the whole widget model than not.

The whole widget model does not necessitate a closed (or rather controlled) ecosystem like Apple’s, and you shouldn’t mistake the two.

Keith

@StevenN,
I don’t understand this: “As a developer, I would much rather target 80,000,000 unified iPhone OS devices compared to Android?s current 8 to 10 million units with different hardware and layouts.”

This has been the big dig against Android since new Android devices started popping up.  All the haters are talking about the “Android Fragmentation.”  This is kind of dumb to me.  As a developer myself, this is what excites me about Android.  Now, that the “iTab” has been released with a different screen size (oh my…what will we do), what will Apple developers say now?

I actually like the iPhone.  I the OS is top notch.  The openness of Android just excites me more.

daemon

I am not sure how you can look at the Nexus One and not understand that Google is following in Apple?s footsteps.

Because Google isn’t. Here is the manufacturer’s website for the Nexus One. Notice how the manufacturer is HTC. Could you please show me where on Foxconn’s website the iPhone resides?

Oh wait, that’s right, even though Foxconn manufactures the iPhone for Apple, Apple claims to be the manufacturer!

I know details! Boring details that no one cares about. Like who actually makes the little widget! And who actually designed the little widget! (Google doesn’t claim to have designed the Nexus One)

Bryan Chaffin

Daemon, please note that I’ve argued in a past column (and in our podcast) that Google has not fully done the whole widget thing in part because of the very point you raised.  This was in response to everyone and their brother having proclaimed otherwise when it was first launched.

What I’ve said here is that Google is closer to that model than not. They relied on a handset maker to help them because they had to, but they still controlled the design in a way the OS maker usually doesn’t.

Apple, with experienced industrial designers and hardware engineers who know how to make computers, is able to outsource to an OEM manufacturer who does Apple’s bidding. Google needed the help of a handset maker to achieve a similar result.

It’s a distinction that means Google has not trod fully down the proprietary path that Apple walks, but the company is still closer to that path than Motorola - or even HTC - licensing Android for their own use.

Terrin

Actually, Apple used a tiered approach to marketing. First, it relied on virtually free sources of marketing. It had a developer show where the media was invited about six months before it was released. Afterwards, it presented information on it’s website about the iPhone. Apple’s loyal fan base and media outlets took over from there creating interest in the product without Apple spending a dime. About three months before releasing the product it presented that “hello” commercial. However, at the time nobody really cared about smart phones that much, so it’s initial sales number was impressive especially at the initial cost.

Google can’t market the Nexus One to aggressively because releasing the phone was risky. It’s partners relying on Android are probably pissed. They have to compete with Google now. Make no mistake Google would like all the other manufacturers of Android phones to fail if Google could capture all those sales. It, however, doesn’t want other third party manufacturers to fail without knowing it can capture a large percentage of the market on it’s own. It would like to be Apple: in charge of the whole widget.

Look at how it is working in the browser market. It pays Firefox to use Google, the same with Apple. After Google is a household name, it releases it’s own browser thereby hoping it’s browser can become big enough to get rid of paying the third parties for using it’s search engine. 

I don?t see any evidence of this, and if they were, the comparison isn?t fair, because to create a new model, then compare it to a competing model, one must market it similarly intensively. Besides some online ads through their own system and good online reviews, Google has not tried to wholesale create a new cellular distribution model.

StevenN

@Keith
While Google has done a good job with Android, it still seems like they are on the continuous Beta cycle that Google seems to live in.  They are not recognizing the production constraints everyone they are involved with have to deal with.

Fragmentation is not about “haters” (something Android fans say so they can dismiss very serious issues Google is not dealing with) but about realism.  I will actually spend considerable time doing UI layouts to get the optimal layout on a smallish phone screen.  Dealing with multiple layouts, simply increases workload.  Luckily IB makes this infinitely easier than under Android so transitioning to different screen resolutions is not tons of work.

Then you have what OS?  You have Motorola Droid at 2.0 and the new, yet to be released Motorola Devour? at 1.6?  WTF?  Nexus One at 2.1.x and the G1 still at 1.5.  Again, this simply increases the regression testing work load by opening up more permutations.

Then you have the devices that are not even allowed on the Market Place like the Archos 7/9.  How free is that?

As for targeting 80 million devices VS 8-10 million?  That one is easy.  Not only that, iPhone users tend to be 400%+ more likely to actually PAY for an app and I just can’t see getting into Android at this time.  More work in testing.  More work in development (and do you really like Eclipse?) 1/40th the potential sales.  Not for awhile; wait and see.

daemon

G1 still at 1.5.

G1 is at 1.6.

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