In the First Week, Google May Have Sold 20,000 Nexus One Phones

When I spoke with Google’s mobile boss, Andy Rubin, he said that Google (s GOOG) would be happy to sell about 150,000 Nexus One devices. That number, he said, would be enough for the Google Phone to get in front of a majority of American phone buyers who might want to take a look at it. Well, let’s just say a fraction of the job might be done. According to Flurry, a San Francisco-based mobile application analytics company, Google may have sold about 20,500 units of the Nexus One, which if you read my review is the best Android phone on the market.

In the past, Flurry has been fairly accurate in giving guesstimates as to first-week sales, thanks to its relationships with 10,000 app developers. They estimate that the “Nexus One was outsold by Droid by more than 12 times, myTouch 3G by 3 times and iPhone 3GS by a staggering 80 times.” Of course, Google didn’t spend a lot of money on marketing — that isn’t part of the plan — as Rubin explained to me.

Cannibalization may also be playing a role as the Nexus One competes against the myTouch 3G for any new T-Mobile customer. In effect, sales are now split between the two handsets. And while Google, in an effort to avoid channel conflict with T-Mobile, appears to have set the direct-to-consumer price for the handset at over $500 dollars, the high price point combined with the fact that the handset is only considered an “evolutionary” improvement over previous Android devices, indicates that Google did not take the steps to maximize first week sales. (Flurry Press Release)

firstweeklaunch.png I think 20,500 Nexus Ones sold might be a tad on the high side, considering Google has been giving away the phone to its employees and has seeded the market with giveaways. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how Google carries on pushing this device in the coming months. The company is experiencing a backlash over customer service issues and more recently about confusion over service cancellation charges.

Related GigaOM Pro Research:
Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One