Buying Nexus Devices through the Play Store
Seems to be the day for rumours about Google selling the next range of Nexus devices through the Google Play store.
Given that currently you can only buy the Galaxy Nexus in the US via the Play Store I personally don’t see this is a good route to take. I know a lot of non-US developers were pretty pi**ed off when they found out that only the US Xoom was a Google Experience device, and the non-US Xoom has suffered severe OS update lag since.
Google has been around this loop twice before already; Once for developer phones (ADP1 anyone?), then with the Nexus One. Both times they’ve ended up dropping the idea. Which doesn’t set a good precedent.
Google is not a business which regularly ships physical goods to global customers. The online Google merchandise store (google-store.com) is handled by a separate company who specialise in company merchandise and so are unlikely to want to handle ‘phones, so selling ‘phones to customers around the world is definitely outside their comfort zone.
Having ordered an accessory for the Nexus One back in the days when Google sold them I know that shipping and import taxes made the price so high most people (including developers) would just not bother (in my case the shipping and taxes were ~US$45 which pretty much doubled the price of what I was buying).
Persaonlly I can’t see Google selling multiple nexuses via the Play store as a viable plan to get those devices to the global Android Developers community things currently stand. Unless Google invests significantly in a global physical goods distribution mechanism (which is a possibility) I can see only two paths this will take; Either it’ll be a US only deal which will seriously annoy the huge number of non-US Android developers, or the shipping and import duties will make it too expensive for many in places like Africa and Asia.
With all that said, this is still only a rumour, and Google Developers I/O is not too far away where a developer focused announcement could be made. Lets just hope Google take a global view on this and they don’t end up giving non-US developers the impression they’re not important to them in the same way that not making the Galaxy Nexus available in India has not pleased a fair number of Indian developers.