SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's initial sales of its Nexus One smartphone have significantly lagged the pace of Apple Inc's iPhone and Motorola Inc's Droid sales coming out of the starting gate, an analytics firm said on Tuesday.
According to a report by Flurry, Google sold roughly 135,000 of its new Nexus One phones in its first 74 days on the market. By contrast, Apple sold 1 million of the original iPhones in the first 74 days, while Motorola sold 1.05 million Droid phones -- which are based on Google's Android software -- during the same timeframe.
The sales estimates, which Flurry said it based on software applications featuring its analytics technology that have been downloaded to most of the phones, suggests a less than stellar start to Google's plan to play a larger role in the mobile phone business.
Google launched the Nexus One phone, which it developed with handset manufacturer HTC Corp of Taiwan, in January, marking the first time the giant Internet search company had sold a hardware device directly to consumers.
But the Nexus One, unlike the iPhone or the Droid, can only be purchased on the Web and is not available at retail stores. Google has also advertised the phone exclusively online, foregoing the high-profile television ad campaigns of the iPhone and the Droid.
Kaufman Brothers analyst Aaron Kessler said he would have assumed that Google would sell more than 135,000 units.
"Clearly Google is not spending a lot of money marketing it. It doesn't seem like Google has huge expectations on this one," said Kessler.
But he noted that Google's broader mobile strategy is to grow the overall base of devices from various manufacturers that use Google's Android smartphone software.
According to a recent report by comScore, the market share of Android-based smartphones in the U.S. grew to 7.1 percent in January from 2.8 percent in October 2009.
By contrast, Apple's share grew at a slower pace, reaching 25.1 percent in January compared with 24.8 percent in October.
Google said in an emailed statement that the company was pleased with its sales volume and by how the Nexus One has been received by customers. Google's partners are shipping more than 60,000 Android based handsets each day, compared to 30,000 just three months ago, Google said.
The Nexus One is currently available for $179 with a two-year contract from Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA, or $529 without a service plan.
Google announced separately on Tuesday that a new version of the Nexus One is now available that works on AT&T Inc's 3G wireless network. Previously, the Nexus One was only compatible with AT&T's lower speed 2G or EDGE network.
Google has said that the phone will be available with Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., sometime in the spring. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.
Flurry said it used the first 74 days of sales as a benchmark, since that was the timeframe that Apple initially announced it took to sell the first million iPhones in 2007. Since March 19 will mark the first 74 days of Nexus One sales, Flurry said it forecasted results for the last few days of the
Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Carol Bishopric