Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm.

Where Are Google’s Nexus Stores?

Google MWC Booth

Google’s Nexus tablets are supposed to be credible competitors to Apple’s iPads and Amazon’s Kindle Fires. And they’re actually selling pretty well — approaching 1 million sales a month, Google’s partner Asustek recently told the WSJ.

But it should be a lot easier to discover, try, and buy them. For example: Why aren’t there any Google Nexus stores? Tablets are becoming mainstream, but the easiest way to fall in love with one is to experience it in person.

Apple’s retail stores have been a huge, famous success for the company, entertaining about a million visitors per day last quarter. Apple doesn’t disclose how many iPads it sells in its retail stores, but last quarter, Apple sold 1.1 million Macs at its 390 stores, or about 23% of all Macs sold worldwide. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least 2 or 3 million iPads were sold in Apple stores during the same period — if not more. With the iPad mini about to launch, Apple stores should see record traffic this quarter. And you can’t buy a Nexus anything there.

Microsoft, to its credit, is launching 32 pop-up shops in the U.S. and Canada for its Surface tablet this holiday season. My first and only experience so far with the Surface was by accident — at one of these booths in New York’s Time Warner Center last weekend — while I was picking up hurricane supplies at Whole Foods. I didn’t buy one, but I know where to go back and play with one when I have more time. The Surface is far from a sure thing, but Microsoft’s investment in these pop-up stores is smart.

Barnes & Noble retail stores, likewise, deserve most of the credit for the Nook’s success so far. And Amazon — the e-commerce king — even distributes its Kindle devices in some retail stores, especially in the U.S.

Google even knows how to build a fun in-person experience: Its Android booth at Mobile World Congress — photo above — is always a huge hit, including free smoothies and a slide. There were some Chromebook stands. And its offices are famous for their creature comforts.

Google Nexus shops could actually be cool, and might help drive meaningful Nexus tablet sales. So where are they?