Google Execs Refute Retail Store Rumors, Commit To Play Store Sales

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With rumors surfacing in the past week that Google was close to launching their own brick and mortar retail stores, Android chief Andy Rubin shot down those rumors earlier today. During a roundtable interview in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, Rubin said “They don’t have to go in the store and feel it anymore.”

I’m not 100% sure I agree with that sentiment, but Rubin emphasizes that Google’s hardware effort is still in its infancy: “For Nexus, I don’t think the program is far enough along to think about the necessity of having these things in a retail store,” he said. When pressed about whether Google would ever consider a retail store environment for products, Rubin emphasized that Google had “no plans and we have nothing to announce.”

Also speaking in Barcelona, Google VP of Google Play Jamie Rosenberg played up the notion that Google is committed to selling hardware through the Play Store. If we can take a trip back in time and recall the launch of the original Nexus device, the Nexus One, Google attempted direct sales of the original Nexus device and then reversed course to sell the Nexus through other channels.

That all changed with the release of the Nexus 7, Nexus and Nexus 10 last year which all launched via the Play Store before moving to other channels. Even if the Play Store experience hasn’t been as smooth as Google would prefer with numerous inventory troubles for the new Nexus lineup, they remain committed to the Play Store. Rosenberg’s comments echo that of Rubin’s which lends further credence to the idea that Google isn’t moving toward a brick and mortar retail environment.

“We’re getting better at fulfilling demand and kind of operating the store in a way that consumers expect us to,” Rosenberg said, noting that the Play store is “a reliable way for us to get these devices into market in different countries around the world.”

Do you want to see Google stores pop up in your local shopping mall or do you agree with Rubin’s comments that Google hardware doesn’t require a hands-on experience before purchasing? Even after the comments from both Google execs, something tells me Google hasn’t written off launching retail stores just yet.

The Verge, All Things D

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  • Tim Moore

    I don’t need it. It’s not the same as Apple. Apple has so many products compared to Google if you are just looking at Nexus. Can’t imagine Google having a store and selling all of the phones by every company.

    • my49montlhy

      hahaha.. apple has so many products..

      • hyl4me

        Don’t forget Apple has laptops, desktops, monitors and software for ios

  • Anthony Domanico

    Yes!!! Supply constraints for Nexus devices is the future!

  • YourDistantCousin

    Google execs are wrong in my book, not devastatingly wrong, but wrong none the less. I.. WOULD LOVE a physical Google retail store. No, we don’t need popups everywhere; it might cheapen the experience. But a few nice special Google stores here and there would be a lovely idea. Luv the web, but ain’t nothing as sweet as feeling the merchandise first!

    • theking_13

      I agree, even if they’re limited like the Microsoft stores.

  • Deadeye37

    I don’t think Google has enough products & popularity to open its own brick & mortar stores. However, I think the bits of hardware that Google has is would do excellent in its own section in big box stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.

    I am a person that has to try before I buy. I need to get my hands on the item and make sure it is going to fit my needs before I pull the trigger. Sometimes I buy things online, but not before trying that item out first in a store.

  • Enzowned

    Agreed, still in it’s infancy. They’d need to develop a wider range of great products, not just it be about Smartphones, which is the only place they’re currently a leader in.

  • Tim

    I think Google retail stores would bring in a broader customer base. A huge advantage that Apple has is the consumers ability to walk into a store, ask questions, and receive hands on instruction. A Google retail store would be a move to bridge that gap. If not a standalone Google store, a Google section in an existing retail store will do. Similar to the Apple section in a Best Buy store, a Google display with knowledgable sales representatives would build consumer trust and loyalty.

    • vrm

      I always thought apple sheeple bought without asking questions.

      • Tim

        Well somebody has to show them what the power button does

        • WW

          Be nice. Swapping battery or memory cards is what they’d likely need help with.

      • Bud

        That’s coming from a fandroid slave.

    • Dakota

      Youre right – not only hands on try-on but also a place to go after the p urchase when they have a question or a problem

  • YourDistantCousin

    Was just thinking about devices like Google Glass coming out this year, and could definitely envision that as something I might like to experience in store before buying online.

    • vrm

      they can still sell those through other retailers.

    • YourDistantCousin

      Not that I’d ever actually buy them, but theoretically…

  • my49montlhy

    I would love a for a store… people like to walk out of a store with there phone setup and ready to go.. the online purchasing of phones requires the person to be alittle familiar with apn’s and setting up the phones themself..

  • I would assume that a Google store would include Google TV set top boxes & chrome books. I think a limited number of stores in the more techcentric areas might be a good idea and then as other products like glass appear they consider expanding.

  • galaxydude

    I just recently upgraded my monthly 4Gs plan to 70$ unlimited data. it’s great i don’t have to worry about going over 5gb i recommend this plan to people who have 5gb cap

  • galaxydude

    My nexus4 arrived about 2weeks ago it’s a great device paired with T-Mobile,s 70$ unlimited data plan

  • 21stNow

    “They don’t have to go in the store and feel it anymore.”

    I expected a statement like this from Apple, not Google.

    • thepanttherlady

      Aren’t these the same people that told us they’ve removed the SD slot because it was “too confusing” for us? SMH

      • AndroidProfit

        as a long time Android user I am actually looking forward to Microsoft eating away at the Google

      • 21stNow

        Honestly, I forgot that Google had said that. I must be turning into an Apple hater (and I swore that I wasn’t) because when I hear ridiculous stuff like that, my mind associates it with Apple and not the company that actually said it.

        Now I must repent from Apple hatred!

    • Not sure why, that’s the antithesis of Apple, a total opposite of what they want and their ridiculously successful retail stores prove that.

      • 21stNow

        You’re right David. Part of what I was alluding to when I said “like this” was more of the attitude that they can make a blanket statement on what customers want to do rather than realize that a customer base in the millions is large enough to have different preferences.

        I had the comment from Steve Jobs regarding seven-inch tablets users needing sandpaper to sand their fingers down in mind when I made my original post.

  • Oaden Johnson

    From what I have seen the Play Store sucks for buying devices because you have to wait weeks for your purchase even when it says they are in stock. I was sold on purchasing the Nexus 4 as my next device, but the inventory issues are a turn off. I will be purchasing a new device this week which will probably be the Note 2 because I don’t think that I want to pay Google and wait 2-3 weeks before the device even ships. WTF is up with that? If it’s in inventory it should only take a day, two at the most to process an order before you ship a product. Google is killing the Nexus program themselves with this new lineup.

  • AndroidProfit

    Google really has NO CLUE what they are doing.

    • magmaspawn

      Did you google that to come up with your post?

  • Google is absolutely wrong on this matter. Apple stores are a design wonder and I don’t even use or like apple products that much. Google can be nordstrom’s to Apple’s prada. Same league but a serious price step down. Offering google branded items through their motorola arm would take the winds out of apple’s sales simply because as it stands you need to order google through the play store or a carrier.

    • 21stNow

      I think that Google should have stores, too. Maybe not now, but in a year. They need more products to put into a bricks and mortar store.

      Of course, they could be original (unlike Microsoft) and set the store up more as a boutique style/size rather than the large footprint that Apple stores have. I’m thinking something along the size of the Bose store that I’m familiar with (7K square feet or less).

      • I concur, my example was price points not size. Apple stores are honestly oversized but they do so to get better deals in most cases or simply to command confidence. A google store at the size you suggest makes perfect sense until Google brings in more devices.


    I recieved my NEXUS 4 quick and easy best phone i ever owned !
    Google opens store i will gladly work for them!
    Look me up GOOGLE..

  • robert

    This needs to happen, a android themed store with all the latest nexus products plus all the other top androids would be great, Microsoft store has all different brands Google can do it too, and with soo many accessories this would be a fun store to visit

    • WW

      I can’t bring myself to pay TMo’s asking price for a Nexus 4 but would own one now if there were Google stores. Especially since I MUST pay extra for 2 day shipping from the Play store to have it delivered in 3-5 (2-3 weeks for N4) days. Who the hell charges you for 2 day shipping then doesn’t deliver it in 2 days?!?

      This is based on my GNex purchase from Google so I may be out of date/off on the requirement to pay extra for slow shipping.

      • Isaac Newsome

        It’s free right now. That’s not asking for much I don’t think.

  • I have to say I actually wouldn’t mind a Google store. I understand why they won’t, it’s kind of a waste of money, but it is part of the reason why everyone loves iDevices. Tell me you don’t run into the Apple store and play with everything and then leave wishing it was with arms full. They can sell all things (or most things) Android, as well as have a local android support guru of some kind and a place for accessories. If they’re getting involved in the laptop situation it’s a good idea. At the current moment though, there isn’t an substantial amount to fill said store at this time.

  • Dakota

    The average consumer likes being able to hold a device in hand and see how it works AND have a place to go if they have questions or problems. Thats part of what makes Apple stores work. You feel supported and you have a fall back if something goes wrong. If you have a Google product or any Android phone – Nexus, Samsung, HTC, youre SOOL

    • loueradun

      If you have a Nexus, Samsung, HTC, or any other mobile device, you have a disgusting amount of resources on the internet, not to mention the likes of xda-developers. I find that no where near SOOL, and I don’t even need to leave the house.

  • HeLLkAt31

    I ordered my Nexus 4 online. I didn’t pre test it at a T-Mobile store. When I received the device and was satisfied 100%.

  • loueradun

    A Google retail store would be a big mistake. They need to keep promoting Android using $300-350 devices. If they can keep the price in that range and manufacture enough to meet demand, droves of people will buy them, just like they did with Nexus 4. Opening a retail store would only drive up the cost of their hardware.