Ina Fried

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Google’s Rubin: No Need for Retail Stores

Despite reports that Google has been eyeing real estate for physical stores, Android chief Andy Rubin says the company really doesn’t need its own retail effort.
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A few years ago, consumers needed to touch and feel devices, but these days they can often get the information they need to make a purchase decision by talking to friends and reading reviews.

“They don’t have to go in the store and feel it anymore,” Rubin said, during a roundtable with reporters at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday.

Plus, he said, the Google hardware effort is still in its infancy. “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.

As for whether Google as a whole might nonetheless be considering retail stores, “Google has no plans and we have nothing to announce,” he said.

During the hourlong roundtable, Rubin also addressed other hot topics, including Samsung’s dominance in the Android market.

He and colleagues were coy on the company’s effort to move into subscription music, noting only that the Google Play marketplace is still in its early days.

“I’ve seen the same rumors you have,” said Google Play head Jamie Rosenberg. “I’m not going to comment.”

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