Speaking at a roundtable at the Mobile World Congress, the head of Google's Android division, Andy Rubin, denied reports that the company was planning to open its own chain of retail stores in order to promote its growing range of hardware products.
A neon Google logo is seen as employees work at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012. Reuters/Mark Blinch
He believes that consumers no longer need to physically experience a product in order to make a purchasing decision, thanks to how easy it is to access web reviews and contact friends for recommendations. As a result: "They don't have to go in the store and feel it anymore," he told assembled journalists.
Rubin also pointed out that Google doesn't currently offer enough devices to fill a store: "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," he said.
When asked about recent media reports that Google was worried about Samsung's growing smartphone dominance, Rubin said that Samsung's success was about execution -- how it runs its business -- and was not simply because of Google's operating system: "There's one big company that's being hugely successful. That's mostly about execution. It's not mostly around Android." He also believes that if other manufacturers want to succeed with Android handsets in the same vein, then they need to focus on how they run their companies: "People have to figure out how to run their own businesses. Should I be unfair to Samsung? I can't do that. I have to be fair to everyone," he explained.