Google Shuts Online Phone Store

Google has suffered a humiliating defeat in its attempt to revolutionise the way in which mobile phones are sold. The internet giant announced the closure of its online phone store, less than five months after its launch.

When the shop was launched in January this year, Google had high hopes that it should simplify buying Android handsets for both concumers and mobile companies.

However, Andy Rubin , Google's head of mobile engineering stated in a blog on Friday: "While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not."

He continued: "It has remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone and they also want a wide range of service plans to choose from."

Critics have stated that the close highlights the power of network-operator marketing.

Rubin went on to say that the shop page would still be available but only as a showcase of Android technology.

After denying rumours that it will produce a "Google phone", it is predicted that the internet giant will now focus on mobile phone software. It is expected that Google will introduce the latest iteration of Android at their developer conference next week - version 2.2, codenamed Froyo.

According to the NPD research firm, Android overtook Apple in US smartphone sales in the first quarter of the year with 28 per cent of unit sales, compared with 36 per cent for BlackBerry maker RIM and 21 per cent for the iPhone

Rubin stated, "Innovation requires constant iteration. We believe that the changes we're announcing today will help get more phones to more people quicker," he said.

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