Sprint says “no” to Google’s Nexus One

Sprint has become the second wireless carrier to pass on the Nexus One after promising to support the Google-branded Android phone earlier this year.

Instead, Sprint will recommend the HTC Evo 4G, another Android phone with superior hardware and HTC’s Sense user interface. The Evo 4G is expected to launch this month or next, and sports a bigger screen, a front-facing camera, a better rear-facing camera, 720p video recording, WiMax support and twice the built-in storage.

Sprint says "no" to Google's Nexus One

The move follows a similar development at Verizon Wireless. When Verizon began selling the Droid Incredible last month, Google confirmed that it would not sell the Nexus One on the United States’ largest wireless carrier, despite having announced the phone for Verizon in January. Google basically acknowledged that with the speed of innovation in the smartphone market, upcoming Android phones provide a better experience. The same logic appears to be at work with Sprint.

This isn’t a problem for Android, which just saw its first quarter of outselling Apple’s iPhone, but it does suggest that Google is backing off its plans to revolutionize the way smartphones are sold. The Nexus One was only sold online, and allowed users to buy unlocked versions of the phone for a premium, with support for either AT&T or T-Mobile (though neither carrier version would support the other’s 3G network, only its slower 2G connections). This is a departure from the standard practice of selling subsidized phones with a two-year contract, though T-Mobile offered a discounted Nexus One for $179 on contract.

I’m guessing that carriers were never in a rush to support or market a phone that took power away from them, and when it became clear that the Nexus One wasn’t selling well, Google lost leverage. With Android on the rise, it makes more sense for Google to stay the course and build up the platform the traditional way.

It makes me wonder whether Google will pursue a “Nexus Two” or let the dream die.