February 17, 2013, 1:15 PM — Google is seeking a greater retail presence with plans to open stand-alone shops in big cities, with the first ones expected to launch in time for the busy holiday shopping season.
It could be a smart move given that major competitors that sell mobile operating systems, cell phones or other electronic gadgets, including Apple, Microsoft and Sony, already have a wide array of stores across the country.
In addition to giving people hands-on time with current Google devices such as the Chromebook , Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet and at some point Google Glass, the new shops might be good places for Google to demo otherGoogle X Lab projects in the works, such as its self-driving cars, which have already logged thousands of miles on American roadways.
While Google already has Chromebook dedicated areas within many U.S. Best Buys and U.K. retailers where you can try out its browser-based notebook before buying it, the new stand-alone Google stores will have a wider reach.
Just like you can head to an Apple or Microsoft store and play around with an iPad or Surface RT before laying down $500 to take one home, Google wants to let people handle its Chromebooks, Nexus mobile devices and, eventually, Google Glass head mounted displays before buying them.