It's not just about an online only sales model.
a)You couldn't find this phone on carrier websites, and from many other retailers.
This may surprise google, but many may not want to buy from them. When Google Checkout came out, it did not have a customer service phone # for years. Google's products may be nice, but people like to know they can call and scream at someone if they want to. Google has improved since, but it doesn't compare to dealing with a store or a 5 star online retailer with a long, credible sales history.
Also, the exclusivitiy of it only being available through google doesn't help. It possibly hurt. It hurts a product's credibility - when that product is a mass produced consumer electronic item, when it is only available from one place.
I used to think, it could have been different with the Nexus One. Perhaps there were more options available for support & people did have confidence in buying directly from Google. The sales figures for the phone prove I'm not wrong.
b)Unlocked smartphones aren't all they're cracked up to be due to high speed mobile internet carrier inconsistencies.
An unlocked dumbphone can be fully utilized on any network for its major purposes of SMS & phone calls.
An unlocked smartphone has severe limitations used on any network other than the one it was intended for because every network has different frequencies & technologies for providing people with data & voice.
Yes, you can use wi-fi and edge, but this is severely limiting compared to the idea of unlocking a phone and having 3G available from every network. I don't want to wait forever for maps to load while I wait in the street looking for directions, I don't want to web browse at 100 kbps waiting in a doctor's office on EDGE, or listen to music via Pandora on the lo-fi option.
In addition to the limitations when used on neighboring GSM networks, you don't even get the option to use it on Verizon or Sprint because they're CDMA!
Of the "big four" nationwide wireless networks, most of the major unlocked smartphones can at best work on two networks! One of which it will be decidedly crippled on!
And one wonders why there was no revolution?
It's not google's fault that sprint, verizon, t-mobile, and AT&T all have different methods of getting people high speed mobile data & voice service, but it's the reality.
People who buy unlocked smartphones are paying very high dollar amounts for them. At that point, I don't think tacking on more to the price to include a radio for every major provider would be a bad idea, if it were possible to pack it all in there. Imagine a phone you can use on any provider in your area at the drop of a dime without losing 3G service!
Macbook, & BlackBerry repair in NYC