Sprint Drops Plans for Google’s Nexus One

Sprint said it no longer plans to sell Google’s Nexus One smartphone, just two months after announcing its upcoming release, highlighting the strained relationships the Internet search giant has with established mobile companies.

The reversal marks the second U.S. carrier to back away from the device. Last month, Verizon said it was scrapping plans to bring the Nexus One to its network.

“There’s really no need for the Nexus One,” said Michelle Leff-Mermelstein, a Sprint spokeswoman. The company is instead pushing the upcoming HTC Evo, its first phone compatible with fourth-generation, or 4G, network.

Meanwhile, Verizon is aggressively marketing the Droid Incredible, another Android smartphone. Both devices are made by HTC.

Sprint’s decision represents another major blow as Google’s tries to carve a role for itself in the smartphone space and compete with Silicon Valley rival Apple.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company broke with convention and made enemies with carriers when it started selling the device exclusively through its Web site, essentially cutting out wireless retail stores and traditional distribution channels through network operators.

By offering the smartphone directly to consumers, without a wireless plan, the company attempted to establish a new model for pricing, marketing and distributing.

The Nexus One, which Google designed as a challenger to Apple’s iPhone, currently works on T-Mobile and AT&T. Verizon and Sprint’s networks use a different technology.

Despite the setbacks, Google’s Android software has quickly emerged as a major player in the fast-growing smartphone sector. The mobile operating system recently overtook Apple’s iPhone to become the second-place platform behind Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, according to research firm NPD.

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