Google's Nexus One is slow to sell

Despite a much-hyped debut, Google's Nexus One has been a sales bust so far.

Google generated a lot of hype when it launched the Nexus One mobile device in mid-January because the Mountain View, Calif.-based company broke with convention and started selling its smartphone directly to consumers without a cellphone company contract. But an analysis of its first month on the market has critics wondering if the web search giant should do a little corporate soul-searching and stay clear of the hardware business.

According to Flurry Inc., a firm that studies the smartphone industry, Google sold about 80,000 Nexus One units in the first four weeks. The iPhone and the Motorola Droid, on the other hand, sold 600,000 and more than 500,000 respectively in their first month.

Google fans point out that the Nexus One was launched to draw attention to Google’s Android operating system, not to take the smartphone market by storm. And IDC analyst Kevin Restivo says it is still a real threat to other smartphones because “it looks like the best Android-powered phone” and will push competitors on design.

Restivo adds that Nexus One is a means to other ends, including efforts to build a large user base for Google’s mobile phone services and exposing more smartphone users to mobile web ads.