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Google opening showrooms to push holiday gadget sales

Monday, 18 Nov 2013 | 1:36 PM ET
Still from Google Winter Wonderlab promotional video.
Source: Google
Still from Google Winter Wonderlab promotional video.

Google is ramping up its efforts to get more of its devices into consumers' hands this holiday season.

(Read more: 10 hot gifts for the gadget lover)

The company is opening several showrooms—called Winter Wonderlabs—across the U.S. where people can get their hands on Google's Nexus 7 tablets, Chromebooks and its Chromecast video streaming device. Consumers, though, won't be able to buy the devices to take home from the showroom, however, they can place an order for a device while visiting the space.

(Read more: Google launches new HP Chromebook for $279)

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While Google's move to show off its products to the public in showrooms puts some pressure on competitors like Apple—which has a strong retail presence—and Microsoft—which continues to exapnd its stores—its showroom strategy is really taking aim at Samsung, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner.

"Google is gearing up to push Motorola and Nexus as the best experience for Android," she said. "But in order to get consumers to move away from Samsung and other brands—although mainly Samsung—they need to make it easier for them to try out these devices."

While Google's Android operating system accounted for 81 percent market share in the smartphone market during the third quarter, according to data from International Data Corp., most of the devices running on Android are not Google products, but smartphones made by Samsung.

Android vendors in the third quarter

Vendor Units Units share
Samsung 84,501,808 39.9%
Huawei 12,578,985 5.9%
Lenovo 12,281,628 5.8%
LG 11,993,996 5.7%
Coolpad 11,098,727 5.2%
Others 79,184,120 37.4%
Total 211,639,264 100.0%
Source: IDC

In fact, Samsung accounted for 39.9 percent of all Android shipments in the third quarter, according to the IDC data.

Google wants to change that. The tech company sees the best Android experience as only being available on its tablets and smartphones, and the only way to convey this to consumers is to actually get its products in their hands, Milanesi said.

(Read more: Mystery solved: Google barge function unveiled)

The company is also not shying away from gimmicky tactics to get people in the door. The company is installing a life-size snow globe in the showrooms where people can take slow-motion video of themselves.

Google is opening showrooms in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Calif., and Paramus, N.J.

The company is also in the process of building a barge in the San Francisco Bay where it plans to showcase new technologies and products.

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.