Google has announced that it’s received its last batch of Nexus One phones. When they’re gone, they’re gone–and since Google announced back in May that it had decided to shutter its online phone store, the company will be ending its experiment in direct sales to the masses when the last N1 goes out the door.
One question which I think remains unanswered: Does the imminent death of the Nexus One signal the end of the concept of the Googlephone–if “Googlephone” is defined as an Android handset for which Google is the maker of record and the sole company responsible for the software experience? When Google decided to wind down direct sales of the phone, it said it would work to sell it through retailers. But I don’t think it ever addressed directly what it intended to do once the Nexus One was discontinued. Will it be content to let phone makers do with Android as they will from now on? Or does it still want the opportunity to make a phone that fits its vision of what an Android handset should be as closely as possible?