Complaints have reverberated throughout the blogosphere that Google’s direct-to-consumer approach leaves many Nexus One owners without the ability to see and handle the device before purchasing. Worse is the lack of customer support.
These are legitimate complaints. But let’s not forget that Google deserves at least some props for being the first company to unbolt mobile phones from the carrier control that has stifled innovation and good competition in the U.S. mobile market for decades.
It’s a step toward the European market where you buy your phone, THEN go to a carrier for a service plan. Under such a regime, the consumer has much more leverage, which forces carriers into more competitive rates.
Consumers are also less tied to one carrier if there is a particular mobile device they are partial to. With the Nexus One, the U.S. market has taken a small but important step toward this.
The Nexus One setup isn’t ideal for many early customers and their pain is felt. But the bigger story is the industry inflection point we’ve reached … one that will have much more positive consumer effects.