Nexus One Rumours Suggest UK Delay

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Google’s Nexus One could be delayed in the UK, while its sister phone – the HTC Desire – might be saddled with the unpopular Vodafone 360 interface

Reports are circulating that the UK launch of Google’s Nexus One phone will be delayed into next month, amid fears of low sales – while other reports say the non-Google branded version of the phone – the HTC Desire – may be saddled with Vodafone’s unpopular Vodafone 360 service.

The Nexus One phone is due to launch in Britain at the start of April, says Google, but reports that seem to stem from the Guardian suggest that the date could be put back – at least to later that month. Sources for the delay story seem scanty, and it has been denied by Google.  However, the delay, if genuine,  will not affect one person, who will win the Nexus One that eWEEK is holding for a prize draw for UK readers subscribing to our newsletter.

Nexus One sales estimates down

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More seriously, Goldman Sachs analysts, initially optimistic about the phone, have revised their predictions downwards. The analyst firm originally guessed Google would sell 3.5 million Nexus One units in 2010, but an analyst from Goldman Sachs slashed that to only one million, in a statement picked up by ZDNet and others: “Initial data points were disappointing, possibly due to limited marketing and customer service challenges.” The phone may be great, but it is suffering from lack of support from operators, the analyst said.

Despite a lot of positive coverage – and we rate the Nexus One highly in our review – the best estimate seems to be that Google sold 20,000 phones in the first week after its January launch, and 80,000 in the first month, compared with the iPhone 3G S which sold 1.6 million in a week, and the Motorola Droid which sold 500 thousand in a month.

HTC Desire “polluted” by Vodafone 360?

Some users may have decided to wait for the HTC Desire – essentially the same phone as the Nexus One, launched by HTC at the Mobile World Congress, without the Google branding and with a better optical joystick mouse pad instead of the Nexus One’s trackball – but they may be disappointed according to reports.

Vodafone has an exclusive UK contract for the Desire, but is reported to be adding its own Vodafone 360 social networking cloud services to the phone. Although Vodafone 360 had a superficial attraction that initially convinced some people (ourselves included), the service has been widely criticised for restricting users to an operator-run walled garden if they want to use the most powerful features of the service.

“The Legend will come pre-loaded with a range of Vodafone 360 services, including Vodafone Music and MyWeb, sitting on top of the HTC Sense user interface,” a Vodafone press release says. The phone will also apparently have access to the Android App Market, but gadget site Crave is concerned that the interface will “pollute” the phone or be embedded so deeply into it as to spoil it.