Google’s track record with selling hardware online isn’t great. Starting with the Nexus One, product launches have been met with everything from botched consumer support to sporadic supply. But that doesn’t mean Google is giving up. Google has gone on the record to make it clear that selling hardware on the Play Store is here to stay and that retail locations are not in the company’s immediate future.
During a roundtable discussion with Google executives at Mobile World Congress, distribution methods of Google branded hardware were a hot topic. Now that Google is pushing tablets, phones, laptops and accessories that all bear the Google or Nexus name, the future of how Google plans to sell these items has come under question.
Recent rumors have indicated that Google is working on retail locations where products currently sold in the Play Store right would be available for hands on demos. Until now, the portfolio of hardware sold under Google’s name hasn’t been robust enough to justify opening up shop in tech savvy cities across the globe. Industry pundits have all been echoing a similar position that now is the time, but Google’s Andy Rubin and VP of Google Play Jamie Rosenberg do not agree.
Both Rubin and Rosenberg had choice words on the matter. Rubin stated, “Google has no plans and we have nothing to announce,” when asked about Google opening retail locations. Rosenberg confirmed that the devices section on the Play Store is “here to stay.” Rosenberg went on to address the issues Google has seen with product launches, saying that Google is getting better and adding that the Play Store is “a reliable way for us to get these devices into markets in different countries around the world.”
Of course you should never say never with Google. Who knows what the future might hold? If the Nexus program and Chromebooks continue to rise in popularity and Motorola’s next products are a big hit, Google branded retail locations might not be too far off. Even if Google does open retail locations eventually, it’s good to know the Play Store will remain in business. Google says the experience is improving, and we agree. Let’s just see how it holds up if Google announces anything new at I/O.