At a roundtable session in Barcelona today, Jamie Rosenberg, VP of Google Play, noted that the model of selling devices directly to consumers through the Play store is "here to stay."
That has never been a sure thing: Google famously launched direct sales of its original Nexus device, HTC's Nexus One, before reversing direction and deciding to sell the phone exclusively through other channels. The move effectively ended the Nexus One's retail run in the US, since no major carriers had picked it up for a big sales push. "It's remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from," Android boss Andy Rubin said at the time.
With the Nexus 4 launch, the Play store has had a rough patch
That changed last year beginning with the Nexus 7 and later the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, all three of which launched in Google Play — but not without hiccups. The worst came with the LG-sourced Nexus 4, which was pulled from sale after a chaotic launch day and allegations from Google of "scarce and erratic" supply.
"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." The Nexus 4 is currently available from Play in seven countries.