December 19, 2014

Opinion: 3 Reasons Sprint Will NOT Drop the Nexus One

There has been much talk regarding the Sprint version of the Nexus One and whether it will meet the same fate as Verizon’s. Back in March, prior to Sprint’s formal announcement of their support for the Google’s flagship device, I wrote a post entitled “Opinion: What Does Verizon’s Nexus One Mean for Sprint?.” In it, I outlined the many reasons as to why Sprint will be getting the device. Sure enough, I was right.

Since that day, Sprint has confirmed the Nexus One, Verizon has dropped the Nexus One, and I, yet again, have written a post containing the assurance of a Sprint customer support agent, saying that Sprint is still planning to support the device (for whatever that’s worth).

However, in an article entitled “Will the Sprint Google Nexus One be dropped soon too?,” Matthew Miller of ZDNet expresses the possibility of Sprint dropping the device as well. His logic is as follows: Verizon replaced the Nexus One with the HTC Incredible, and therefore, it’s possible that Sprint will replace their Nexus One with the HTC EVO 4G.

In keeping up with my reputation of being right, and with the hopes that the trend continues, I will now give you 3 reasons why Sprint will NOT drop the Nexus One…

  1. The EVO 4G is an entirely different animal than the Nexus One – For Verizon, releasing the HTC Incredible alongside the Nexus One would have been a terrible mistake, especially from a marketing standpoint. The devices have very similar specs. The only true differentiating factor in the eyes of the consumer would be Sense UI versus stock Android. With the Droid already sporting stock Android, Verizon has no need to cater to that specific market. The Nexus One and HTC Incredible would cannibalize each others sales figures. Verizon releasing both, would have proven to be a mistake. In Sprint’s case, however, the EVO 4G and Nexus One satisfy two, completely separate markets. The EVO 4G has a 4.3″ monstrosity of a screen with a front-facing camera, Sense UI, and media features galore. The Nexus One, on the other hand, has a 3.7″ screen, runs stock Android, and is better suited for developers. Most consumers want to get their hands on a “superphone” these days, but not all of them want a massive screen, as it’s harder to fit in your skinny jeans. There are also many people out there (myself included), who don’t like Sense UI and are willing to forgo future video-chat capabilities for a device that will get the latest Android OS releases without having to wait 6+ months. Sprint understands these things and knows that in order to regain subscribers, they must cater to all types of people. One device can’t please everyone.
  2. A CDMA version of the Nexus One has already made it through the FCC – Back in February, CellPhoneSignal posted an FCC filing that shows the CDMA version of the Nexus One. Being that devices don’t pass through the FCC without actually existing, it’s safe to say that the phone does exist, and it’s possible, if not likely, that many of them have already been produced. Assuming this is the case, Google has a nice amount of money to lose should they not have an outlet by which to sell the CDMA Nexus One. They would probably accept any carrier offer to relieve them of their stockpile of phones. Perhaps Sprint was given a unique opportunity, back in March, to make a deal to carry the device. Of course, if Google made it worthwhile, they had to take it. Since the device exists, and Sprint is the only CDMA carrier left to support it, Google will ensure that the deal doesn’t fall through.
  3. Nexus One is still present on Sprint’s developer site - If you visit Sprint’s Android developer site, the Nexus One is still listed, front and center. Sprint has been promoting the phone to developers since their March announcement and has yet to pull it from their site. Why would they continue to lead on the people who are most crucial to the success of the devices they sell if they have no intention of releasing the phone? Developer cooperation is essential for a successful smartphone ecosystem. Sprint’s not stupid. They’re not going to intentionally piss off the boatload of developers that have been salivating over the CDMA Nexus One.

Here’s what I think happened in Google’s Nexus One love triangle [place imagination cap on head now]:

Google wanted to change the way smartphones are sold. They wanted one phone, on every carrier, available through a single online medium. As of the January Nexus One announcement, Verizon had come to an agreement with Google, while Sprint had not (for whatever reason). It’s possible that Verizon expressed interest in an exclusivity deal on the CDMA Nexus One, but Google was already in negotiations with Sprint at the time (part of their overall plan from the get-go).

When Verizon didn’t get what they wanted, they saw no point in going forward with a device that was almost the same as the HTC Incredible. There wasn’t enough in it for them. In my opinion, Verizon probably backed out in early March. With Verizon out of the picture, Google realized the urgency of coming to terms with Sprint, who they had yet to finalize a contract with. Without Sprint, they would fail to launch the CDMA version of their phone, and be stuck covering their losses. At this point, they most likely had a contract with HTC to manufacture X amount of CDMA phones. Eventually, Google agreed to Sprint’s terms in the negotiation, and in the process, was forced to give up a little more than than was being discussed in the initial talks. This worked out in Sprint’s favor, and, at the same time, allowed Google to cover their behinds. Sprint then made a formal announcement, seemingly out of nowhere. Why? Because Verizon was already out of the picture and Sprint wanted to make sure the public knew that they’d be the CDMA Nexus One’s saving grace. When Verizon customers would later find out about “big red” dropping the Nexus One, Sprint would already be in the forefront of their minds. This would allow Sprint to pick up some of Verizon’s would-have-been customers.

Just to cover my tail, being that I have been wrong on a few, rare, occasions in the past (just ask my wife), I’d like to present the alternative. There is always the possibility that both Sprint and Verizon had deals with Google at the same time. After all, a CDMA Nexus One would be compatible with both carrier’s networks regardless of who actually supported it, so why would one of them say no? It’s possible that the device then failed Verizon’s internal testing and the carrier decided to drop it when releasing the HTC Incredible. Troubleshooting it just wasn’t worth the hassle. This would mean that Sprint is likely having the similar issues with the device, but since it means more to them, they have yet to formally give up. If the Nexus One was still scheduled for a Sprint release, you’d think Sprint would have reassured its patient customers, don’t you?

Then again, they don’t want to take away from the EVO 4G hype, now do they? While I hear those who are skeptical of Sprint coming through, I’m gonna go with my gut on this one. Sprint WILL release the Nexus One, and I patiently await it.

Let’s hear what you guys (and gals, of course) think in the comments below…

UPDATE: Just my luck… Hours after this article went up, Gizmodo made a post saying that Sprint has confirmed they will NOT be releasing the Nexus One. I have emailed both Gizmodo and Sprint to find out more information. I will keep you all posted.



  • MikeL

    I think the nexus one will be a good buy for sprint. Now am all for the EVO when it releases, that phone will be ungodly. However, it is a superphone, and not everybody wants that, I'm not even really sure if I really want a phone that can do that much, I mean how many downfalls could it possibly have, plus the possible extra price of 4g, when it isn't even available everywhere yet.

    The nexus one of the other hand is a damn good phone. It is like a better HTC hero (which I currently own) and I would gladly trade out my hero for a nexus one, almost more than an EVO, mainly because I'm still in contract and am not looking forward to spending $600 on a phone.

    Also I agree that now that it will be exclusively on one CDMA service that Verizon may lose some customers, even though the incredible is pretty incredible. But if some one you haven't already read some reviews as far as camera quality, the nexus one seems to be the better candidate even though the incredible packs an 8 mp camera as opposed to the nexus one's 5 mp. Theres my 2 cents, but you be the judge,

  • DaringFireball

    *sigh*
    I hope you're right about the Nexus One still coming to Sprint (and subsidized, at that). The HTC Evo looks cool and all, but as a guy looking to pick up his first smartphone, I'd rather have the more practical of the two phones first time out of the gate.

    Also, I find it funny that, despite their great specs, the Droid Incredible and Nexus One will likely be considered the mid-level Android phones once the HTC Evo arrives :)

  • Rubbinz

    According to Gizmodo, they were told by Sprint they will NOT be selling the N1.
    http://gizmodo.com/5535436/sprint-wont-sell-the-n

    • http://twitter.com/BenjRubenstein @BenjRubenstein

      I just saw this. I am contacting Gizmodo, as well as their source for confirmation. I pray that they're wrong. It would be such a mistake on Sprint's part :(

      • Rubbinz

        I agree. The EVO is super high end specs wise. The N1 would make a great mid-level device with a lower price.

      • Anton

        Plus no AMOLED screen on the EVO 4G :(

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/juandg juandg

        Engadget confirmed with Sprint also ->http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/10/sprint-cans-ne

  • Justin

    Correct me if i'm wrong, but can't Google still release a carrier unlocked version and sell it on there site?? it would throw out the hopes of getting a subsidized price, but hey, it's better then nothing! At least then, all those CDMA versions that are manufactured will not go to waste.

    • http://twitter.com/BenjRubenstein @BenjRubenstein

      Unfortunately this won't work for CDMA. With CDMA, the carrier has to have the device's ESN number in their database and allow it to be activated :(

      • Justin

        bummer………… :-(

      • Rmdashrf

        This can still be done. All you have to do is call them and gently ask them to change the ESN on your account. They might argue with you but all you have to do is finesse it a little bit.

        I have done this on Sprint and when I was on VZW I gave my brother my old phones and he did it with those.

        • rmdashrf

          To add a bit to my last comment . . .

          However, it is much easier with GSM phones and sim cards. . .

  • Chris

    disappointing. while i'm 95% certain that I'll be picking up the HTC Evo at launch, I still wanted the fall-back option to the Nexus One. Since the EVO is still in pre-launch mode, its hard to tell if if is the right fit for me. I need to hold it and see how feels, weighs and and fits in my jeans (lol). I wasn't too worried about this issue until the craptacular video Sprint released last week of the Evo that distorted the size dimensions which really got me thinking…is this device utilitarian or all braun? Yikes! without another Android handset option (sorry no hero, i1, or moment…so last season), I may have to bounce carriers and maybe even, gasp, consider the iPhone HD/4.

  • tornadoes28

    Doh, so much for your opinion.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/juandg juandg

    The cat is out of the bag, all media outlets are reporting this and 3 very respected publications confirmed independently with Sprint that they are NOT releasing the Nexus One:i

    Gizmondo ->http://gizmodo.com/5535436/sprint-wont-sell-the-n
    InformationWeek gets an email from Sprint ->http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives
    Engadget confirmed on their own ->http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/10/sprint-cans-ne

    And if you need more, Phone Scoop also confirmed on their own ->http://www.phonescoop.com/news/item.php?n=5952

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/juandg juandg

    The cat is out of the bag, all media outlets are reporting this and 3 very respected publications confirmed independently with Sprint that they are NOT releasing the Nexus One:i

    Gizmondo ->http://gizmodo.com/5535436/sprint-wont-sell-the-n
    InformationWeek gets an email from Sprint ->http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives
    Engadget confirmed on their own ->http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/10/sprint-cans-ne

    And if you need more, Phone Scoop also confirmed on their own ->http://www.phonescoop.com/news/item.php?n=5952

    • http://twitter.com/BenjRubenstein @BenjRubenstein

      I appreciate your input. The article has been updated for a while now with this information.

      However, one can't help but wonder if Sprint will still allow the device on their network without subsidy. The device must exist in some capacity–we saw it pass through he FCC. I'm sure we'll have a clearer picture come the EVO 4G event on Wednesday (I'll be attending).

  • Bryce

    Hate to break the news but They have confirmed they are dropping it.

    • Justin

      Yes, did you see his update?? This we know…

  • http://www.p90x-fitness1.com p90x

    I'm a little late finding this article, but I loved it.

  • http://ekas0615.student.ipb.ac.id doel

    nice info. thank you for sharing. like this :p

  • freego

    thank you so much for this info but I guess HTC Touch Diamond is way better than this. 

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