When Google announced the Nexus One in January, they included on their Nexus One page a statement that the phone will be available for Verizon customers in the spring. Google has changed the page and it now says that Verizon customers can buy the Droid Incredible by HTC, which is a model very similar to the Nexus One. The change has cleared speculation about whether Verizon would still sell the Nexus One ever since we learned that Verizon would start selling the Incredible.
What is not clear is how this affects Google’s mobile strategy. Ever since Google announced the Nexus One, which is currently the only phone they sell direct, we have been wondering why they are selling a phone. The speculation has been that Google is trying to change how mobile phones are sold by separating the phones from the carriers, and if that is Google’s objective then the change is a blow to the strategy. It may be that the Nexus One is simply an experiment to see whether they could successfully sell phones directly, and if that is the case it will be interesting to see whether selling phones that only work on half of the U.S. carriers is sufficient to deem the experiment a success. Or, it may simply be the case that Google is using the direct sales approach to raise the bar on the specs of Android phones. Whatever the strategy is, I don’t think we’ll have a clearer picture until see whether or not Google sells another model in the future.