Report: Nexus One Must Learn Lessons After 74 Days

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Apple sold 1m iPhone handsets in its first 74 days on the market and 1.05 million Motorola Droids were sold in the US in the same time, but Google has failed to move even 200,000 Nexus Ones

The Motorola Droid is increasingly looking like a solid competitor for the Apple iPhone, while the Nexus One may be chalked up as an expensive lesson on the Google learning curve, according to a new US report from analytics firm, Flurry.

Today’s report takes a look at each device’s first 74 days — the amount of time it took for Apple to sell 1 million of its first iPhone 1G handsets. According to the report, 74 days in, Google had only sold approximately 135,000 Nexus One handsets, while Verizon Wireless moved an impressive 1.05 million Motorola Droids in the US.

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“The comparison is interesting because the iPhone and Nexus One each represent Apple and Google’s first fully branded handsets, respectively,” Flurry’s Peter Farago wrote in a post on the Flurry blog. “We add the Motorola Droid as a point of comparison, and because it’s the fastest-selling Android phone to date.”

Describing the Nexus One as the “most advanced Android handset to date,” Flurry points to reasons of marketing, pricing and distribution to explain the sales discrepancy between the two Android-running devices. In a 13 January report, the firm went into more detail, explaining that the Nexus One was released 5 January — after the key festive trading season — while the Droid’s 5 November launch date more perfectly positioned it to benefit from consumer spending.

Additionally, while Verizon spent a reported $100 million (£66.2m) on marketing, Google marketed and sold the Nexus One through its website.

In the current report, Flurry offers a rationale instead, for the Droid’s success, which it also tempers in regard to the iPhone, explaining that 2007 iPhone sales and 2009 Droid sales were hardly like comparing ‘apples to apples’.

“When the iPhone launched, consumers’ concept of a mobile computing device as we now understand it, was very different,” Farago wrote. “Since then, Apple has spent million of dollars training and educating consumers about capabilities of such a device, which was no small feat especially after its first foray into the handset business.”

Phones need networks

Also driving the Droid’s success, said Flurry, was the subscriber base of the devices’ networks. While AT&T was 63.7 million subscribers strong at the time of the iPhone’s 2007 launch, Verizon had a potential 89 million Droid subscribers at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

Still, Flurry points out that the ability for the Droid and similar device to provide true, ongoing competition for the iPhone will depend on whether the Android developer community rallies behind the cause.

Ultimately, wrote Farago, “developers support hardware with the largest installed base first. For Android to make progress faster, from a sales perspective, it needs more Droids and fewer Nexus Ones going forward”.

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