Google marked the end of an era today with the final shipment of Nexus One smartphones to its online store. 
Once the popular devices are sold out, the Nexus One will no longer be available online from the Mountain View-based company.

However, the smartphonewill continue to be sold by a number of partners, including Vodafone in Europe, KT in Korea and “possibly others” based on local market conditions.

Google views its Nexus One experiment as an unabashed success, with CEO Eric Schmidt stating that the company “didn’t have to do” a second one.

“We would view that as positive but people criticized us heavily for that. I called up the board and said: Ok, it worked.

“Congratulations – we’re stopping. We like that flexibility, we think that flexibility is characteristic of nimbleness at our scale.”

A number of journalists and industry experts concurred with Schmidt’s assessment, including a team of PiperJaffray analysts.

“We believe the Nexus One effectively served the purpose of showing phone manufacturers that they can build real iPhone competitors,” the investment firm said in a note obtained Friday by the Wall Street Journal.

“We [think] that Android has gained tremendous traction and now appears the be the main draw on all US carriers – excluding AT&T.”

As expected, the reaction in the Android enthusiast community was bittersweet, with many journalists lamenting the abrupt end of Google’s flagship smartphone.

“The Android handset is the only one officially rocking 2.2, or Froyo, and has been a huge favorite amongst Android lovers despite the fierce competition out there,” wrote Marc of IntoMobile.

“Sad times. When the smartphone was announced in January, the plan was to have it hit all four major carriers in the United States. Instead, it was only available for T-Mobile and AT&T as Sprint and Verizon had far better offerings in the Droid Incredible and HTC EVO 4G.

“So if you’re looking to grab one of these Android bad boys, do it now before it’s too late – whether you’re wanting extras or are grabbing one for the very first time.”

Phandroid’s Kevin Krause expressed similar sentiments.

“For now we shed a single tear as the phone that could have changed everything inches one step closer to the end of its life.

if you still want to get your hands on the unlocked version of the phone that never quite made the sweeping changes to the handset market it intended to, head over to the Google web store quickly as we’re sure the remaining stock may not last long.”