Google Opens an Online Storefront For Android Phones

Illustration for article titled Google Opens an Online Storefront For Android Phones

Since launch, Android has descended into a confusing soup of hardware manufacturers, carriers and software versions, while Google has watched, helplessly. Starting today, they're taking Android back: Google's selling Android phones through a unified store, starting with the Nexus One.

Aside from the best-in-class hardware, the potential for newness with the Nexus One (hands-on here) was centered around how they'd sell it. And they have taken a fresh approach with the Nexus One, to an extent: This is the first Android phone sold directly by Google. They've opened a new store, from which they plan to sell Android phones from a variety of carriers and manufacturers—Verizon is up next, presumably with the Droid and the Nexus One—and which will serve as a single, unified storefront for basically every Android phone on the market. It'll be a way for people who want to buy one of those "google phones" they've heard about—by which they mean an Android phone—from a storefront that lets them compare not just hardware, but carrier and pricing options.

On its own, isn't a game-changer, but its a sign that Google's aware of how fragmentation—not just in software, but in brand identity—could pull Android down, and that they're willing to do something about it. [Google]

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Intriguing how they've got the carrier options all lined up together, and especially intriguing that Verizon would go for that. Makes you wonder how they plan to differentiate the options, and if the subsidized prices will be different.