Google to open Europe supply HQ


Google will set up its own distribution centre in Europe to oversee most European distribution of its Nexus One handset, manufactured by Taiwanese maker HTC.

It will open the site in mainland Europe shortly, in time for its availability on Vodafone UK, its first network partner outside of the US. It is yet to confirm the warehouse location.

HTC has a major global distribution contract with US distributor giant Brightpoint, and has confirmed a fulfillment deal with it in the US already, likely to be replicated in the UK and mainland Europe through Brightpoint’s various centres.

But Google has itself set strict guidelines for distribution of the handset, and its own clearing house will be central also to distribution of further iterations of the Nexus series from other manufacturers.

The Nexus One is available for $529 (£332) SIM-free from Google’s web store only, with shipping to take 24 hours (or 72 hours with an engraving on the device).

It will not open distribution directly to Vodafone, its first UK network partner. All Nexus One devices will be unlocked, and feature no network branding. Google takes charge of all marketing of the handset, with no plans for joint marketing campaigns with its network tie-ups.

Vodafone confirmed it will have no stock holding of Nexus One handsets in store, and that it will not feature any point-of-sale material.

Google communications and public affairs manager Anthony House said: “Part of Google’s strategy is to sell the Nexus One in a unique way. This is the first ever product being sold direct to the consumer by Google, so we wanted to do it differently.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “Customers who go to a Vodafone store to enquire about Google’s Nexus One will be directed to the Google website.”

Vodafone is yet to announce what tariffs the handset will be made available on.

It is unclear whether network SIM cards will be issued with Nexus One shipments, or separately by Vodafone via its own distributor partners.