Google Has No Plans For Retail Stores, Says Android Chief Andy Rubin

By James Geddes , Feb 26, 2013 02:53 PM EST

A rumor spread across the Internet over the last few weeks that Google was planning to follow Apple in opening retail stores, so customers could get up close and personal with Google's smartphones, tablets, and its upcoming Google Glass. That seemed to make sense because Apple's CEO Tim Cook recently revealed how important Apple's retail stores are to the company, how the stores have become the face of Apple.

Andy Rubin set the record straight today while speaking at a roundtable event with reporters Tuesday at Mobile World Congress. The Android chief believes that consumers don't need to touch and feel any of Google's devices in order to make a purchase decision. He believes that people can make decisions by reading reviews of devices or by speaking to people who already own the device. 

"They don't have to go in the store and feel it anymore. For Nexus, I don't think the program is far enough along to think about the necessity of having these things in a retail store," Rubin said.

Google might not intend to open retail stores before the end of 2013 but that certainly doesn't mean that a Google retail store isn't part of Google's future plans. Google already has a presence in retail stores.

Google and Best Buy have a deal that gives Google space in some of Best Buy's stores and can be described as a store within a store. Google has its own employees educate and sell its Chromebooks within Best Buy stores through the partnership. Apple also has a similar deal with Best Buy, with an Apple store within a store.

While Google is stating it has no plans to open up Google retail stores, one must remember that a good player never reveals his cards, and as history has shown, Google never revealed its cards when it went from being just a search engine to one of the biggest and most innovative hardware and software companies in the world.

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