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The Google Phone is dead

Google stopped selling its Nexus One smartphone today, ending an era and leaving its Froyo OS in limbo.

Google last week warned that it was getting its last shipment of Nexus One phones in and true to its word, the store has now stopped selling the Nexus One smartphone today.

The stoppage presents a particularly interesting problem for Google.  They no longer sell a device that runs Android 2.2 (Froyo).  All of the carrier handsets currently max out at 2.1 (Eclair) and there is no official word on when updated handsets will hit the market, though many speculate that announcements will be made shortly.

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The second coming of the Droid 2 from Motorola (MOZ)/Verizon (VZ) is rumored to ship with Froyo in August and other high end handsets are expected to get updated throughout the late Summer and into the Fall.

Sprint’s hotly-anticipated Epic 4G Galaxy S may also have Froyo at launch.

Until then, however, you simply can’t buy a new phone with Google’s newest Android OS on it.  No Flash 10.1 support, no built-in Hotspot, no superfast browser.

You can still find plenty of Froyo compatible Nexus Ones for both AT&T and T-Mobile on eBay.  New ones start in the $400s and used ones can be had for as little as $200.

It is still strange to see the gap in Froyo availability, even if it is only a month.  I doubt that Google (GOOG) planned it this way.  Froyo builds have been available since May.  I’m sure they’d point the finger at the carriers and manufacturers who insist on putting their own layers of skins and applications on top of Google’s OS.  Google is rumored to be clamping down on this type of behavior in upcoming releases, something I am all for.

I do think that the first manufacturer/carrier combination to offer a Froyo smartphone will have a big advantage.  Hopefully that is an incentive to hurry up!