After the ripping they took for the Nexus One, would Google dip back into the well for a sequel? Knowing them it’s a strong possibility. They know that most of the attacks on the Nexus (“It didn’t sell well.”) miss the point. If they think that a second iteration of the device will service their purposes, you can bet they’ll develop it. Earlier this year Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company “didn’t have to do a second one,” but you’ll notice that he spoke in the past tense. There is still room in the future, then, for a Nexus Two, and lately we’ve heard plenty of rumors regarding it. What I’m wondering is how Google benefits from releasing a second device.
We’ve heard a few conflicting reports about a possible Nexus Two this week. First came from British publication City A.M., which claimed that Carphone Warehouse would distribute a Google-branded handset. Two of the reasons the Nexus One didn’t sell well were that it wasn’t in stores and it wasn’t heavily marketed. A distribution deal with Carphone Warehouse would help remedy that in the UK. And, since Best Buy owns a 50 percent stake in Carphone Warehouse, there’s a chance that we could see a similar distribution deal in the States. Again, it sounds as though the Nexus Two would be more of a mass market device — if it exists at all.
There’s an interesting line towards the end of the City A.M. article: “It is not yet clear who will manufacture it, although rumours surrounding a Samsung model are believed to be untrue.” While ruling out a single manufacturer usually isn’t interesting on its own, it becomes interesting when we see a later rumor that connects Samsung and Google. On Monday we learned that Samsung will unveil a new Android device on November 8. Commence rumors.
At Android and Me, Taylor Wimberly takes matters a step further by talking to an “Android insider” who backs up the story. After years of news analysis I’ve come to distrust anonymous people who are titled “insider,” but I’ll play along with this one just because it’s fun to imagine a Samsung-built Nexus Two. Sure, I like HTC devices the best, but I’m willing to give Samsung a shot. People rave about the Galaxy S hardware, and if it were loaded with Froyo now I’m sure it would get even more hype.
Anyway, as the rumor goes we’re going to see Samsung announce this device on November 8. It will be available for all carriers, presumably on a subsidized basis (because the unsubsidized version of the N1 didn’t go over that well, from what I understand). As I asked above, I do wonder what Google stands to gain here. Maybe it’s a relationship with Samsung — after all, Samsung hardware and the latest software will make an excellent combination. Maybe it’s an attempt to see their vision come to fruition via their own handset. I’m sure we could speculate hundreds of reasons why Google is doing this.
Chances are we’ll hear more about this in the coming week, since we rarely get all the way to a launch event without knowing its nature. I’m definitely rooting for the N2. I think Google has plenty more to gain than the reasons I listed above.