Oh, Never Mind: Walmart Won't Sell Google Nexus One Smartphone

Sorry, Walmart Nation: Google's Nexus One smartphone won't be coming to your local superstore after all. The nation's largest retailer suffered an embarrassing snafu Tuesday after a page appeared on walmart.com advertising Google's (GOOG) new Nexus One smartphone as "coming soon." But Google says it has no plans to sell the phone through Walmart (WMT), and the retailer says a partner erroneously posted the page."We currently have no plans to distribute the Nexus One through any channel other than our Google-hosted Web store," a publicist said in a statement.

Technical Error

Walmart blamed the snafu on Let's Talk, a cell-phone marketer that operates Wal-Mart's wireless site. "Due to a technical error, this item erroneously was displayed on our site," a Walmart representative says. "We're working with our partner Let's Talk to have it removed as quickly as possible. We have no plans to carry Nexus One in Walmart stores or online at walmart.com at this time." The page has been removed.

The erroneous WalMart page surprised tech observers: Google has insisted that its goal for the Nexus One is to develop a new way of selling cell-phones -- on the Web, not in stores. Google has also said it wants to market and sell Nexus One itself -- indeed, it sells the phone exclusively at google.com/phone. Customers can choose between a model bundled with a two-year contract from Deutsche Telekom's (DT) T-Mobile USA and an untethered unit that costs more.

Google Testing 3G Fix

The Nexus One launch has not been trouble-free. Customers have complained about poor connectivity over current third-generation (3G) wireless networks, while developers have bemoaned the lack of tools for building applications to run on the phone's Android 2.1 operating system. But Google this week said it had "uncovered specific cases for which a software fix should improve connectivity to 3G for some users."

"We are testing this fix now, initial results are positive, and if everything progresses as planned, we will provide an over-the-air software update to your phone in the next week or so," a Google engineer wrote on the Nexus One support site. "It may be, however, that users are experiencing problems as a result of being on the edge or outside of 3G coverage, which a product fix cannot address." At least Walmart can't take the blame on that.
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