Every year, there are a few things we can expect to happen in the mobile industry. We have grown to expect that Apple will unveil a new iPhone. We’ve grown accustomed to Google showcasing their latest and greatest major update to the Android platform. And, we can now bet that we’ll see Google also unveil the newest member of the Nexus family. We know where it all started. We know which devices have made their way into the public eye since then. But, a new rumor to the Nexus mill has certainly caused a new focus to be put on the Nexus name.

Even Taylor is excited about it.

The newest rumor, and it’s one that we’ve actually heard before in the past, is that Google will be working with multiple manufacturers to create not just one Nexus device, but several. And it just won’t be a difference in networks, either. No, the idea this time around seems to be that Google wants to create different smartphones and maybe even tablets, all from different manufacturers like Motorola, LG, HTC and Samsung. The kicker is that these devices would be available through Google’s Play Store, and not branded by any particular carrier.

Yes, we’ve seen Google try this before. No, it didn’t work. There’s no denying that the carriers here in the United States have a pretty firm grasp on most everything that happens in the mobile industry, specifically when it comes to the customer. However, purchasing unlocked devices isn’t a new fad, and it certainly won’t go away any time soon. It saves you from a contract if you don’t want to sign a new one, or extend yours at any time.

But, it does cause some problems for those on a CDMA network, which is one reason why we never saw the Nexus One by HTC release for Verizon’s or Sprint’s network. More often than not, unlocked devices are created for GSM networks, because those SIM cards make it quite easy.

Of course, 4G LTE works with SIM cards, so that would be a workaround. The devices would still have to be CDMA, though, to work with Verizon’s (and eventually Sprint’s) network.

In any event, I didn’t raise the fact that Google has tried this before just to point out that it could fail again. Actually, if Google were to actually support it and stick with it, I don’t see why Google couldn’t sell phones from their Google Play Store. The GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus is already there, and if Google can stay competitive on pricing, it could be a big hit for them.

I just have a problem with multiple Nexus devices. At this point, a Nexus handset is indicative of only one thing: pure Android. Yes, it’s supposed to be meant for developers, but when there’s only one vanilla (main stream) Android option, using a Nexus handset to develop for Android only goes so far. Developers have to make sure that their applications work on handsets that have skins, because the majority of sales go to HTC, Samsung (with their TouchWiz handsets), and Motorola. These devices aren’t vanilla Android.

Releasing multiple Nexus devices just means you’re releasing vanilla Android handsets to the consumer, something that many people want. It also means that you’ve completely accepted the fact that the Nexus name doesn’t actually count for anything anymore. It isn’t your high-end name brand. Nexus means vanilla. The Nexus name has moved from being a superphone title, built for developers yet perfectly usable for the consumer, to a purely consumer-friendly marketing platform.

But you know what? That last bit isn’t a bad thing. I believe that the Nexus name, if it were to go back to its roots and focus on being a yearly refresh, focused on creating flagship specifications for the other manufacturers to follow behind, could indeed be a leading smartphone choice for the general consumer. We don’t need multiple devices to get that done, though.

We don’t need multiple Nexus smartphones and tablets literally bogging down the options.

Google, stick with one yearly device. Make sure that you use different manufacturers each year. And please, make sure that the Nexus name doesn’t get brought down with specifications that no one finds high-end, or even competitive.

And Google? Let’s bring the Nexus name back to the spotlight, like it was with the Nexus One.


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44 Reactions to this post

"Should there be one Nexus device yearly, or multiple devices?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Rani Hinnawi
Rani Hinnawi 2, one for the beginning, and one for the end of the year. Maybe a late winter announcement, spring release for the year's first, late summer announcement for a fall release for the next
Andrew Tsukuda
Andrew Tsukuda One
Orion Pax
Orion Pax And also if the force multiple Nexus maybe it will sell more and manufacturers will wake up and stop skinning phones.
Orion Pax
Orion Pax We need multiple Nexus. Cause the last 2 has been crap. I want a One X type Nexus with removable battery and SD card support.
Cal-Gene Johnson
Cal-Gene Johnson Already made the switch to iOS. Just plain sick of androids bs! Only one nexus in my house left, and that goes out the door when the new iPhone is out. ;)
Scott Braunworth
Scott Braunworth They should have a build off to see who makes the best one, then you can decide which one you want. Can vote, or if they release multiple you have the option. But all at once so you don't feel like an idiot if you buy a Motorola nexus an HTC comes out with a better one a month later
Thomas Boehnlein
Thomas Boehnlein This whole idea of different manufacturers building a Nexus device each year hasn't even come close to meeting my expectations. I just don't see the motive for company to give it their all when they pair up with Google to make a new device.
Eduardo Ordaz
Eduardo Ordaz Choices has long has there is choices then it wont be bad. I mean they should all be stock and more people could choose between those and pick what they like. Some like stock and some like UIs that's why they are there cause it's about choice!
Samuel Claudio
Samuel Claudio There should only be a nexus or google device out if its going to be top of the line, if not, google is looking stupid coming out with all this low end smartphones. It's suppose to be a signature google phone, not the same as everyone else.
Jeremy Zumba Gonzales
Jeremy Zumba Gonzales I think there should only be one. Or else it will end up like the galaxy line where there is so many different variants it's just retarded.
Josh Dunigan
Josh Dunigan End the nexus line......
AC Edwards
AC Edwards The more phones with stock Android the better. I don't care how "unique" my phone is or if there are other Nexus phones, as long as my phone has stock Android.
George Isenhart
George Isenhart Why not? Sure Google let's see whatcha got.
B-Tree Rogers Johnson
B-Tree Rogers Johnson Multiple
Justin Fitzgerald
Justin Fitzgerald With internal and external storage. Love my galaxy nexus...but hate that I can't play my store music via USB. 3.5mm head jack sucks for sound quality.
Orlando Roger Grijalva
Orlando Roger Grijalva One
Ryan Rodriguez
Ryan Rodriguez Every year or so ( high end)
Ryan Rodriguez
Ryan Rodriguez There should only be 1 nexus device and that's all
Sam Rick
Sam Rick Twice a year is good.
Josh Veerkamp
Josh Veerkamp There is no point to a low end nexus, if you want a low end phone there are hundreds to choose from. I think the Nexus line should expand for developments sake.
Jared Augerot
Jared Augerot only if it is amazing like the galaxy nexus.
Jersey Joe Da-Know
Jersey Joe Da-Know ONLY "ONE" !! - HIGH END!! - - EVERY "2" YEARS!!!! (I {& MANY OTHERS} can only upgrade every 2 years, so MORE OFTEN would be USELESS!!!)
Jeffrey Hobbs
Jeffrey Hobbs There should be one high end nexus device yearly. The people saying they should have one low end also is exactly what is contributing to the fragmentation problem.
Jeffrey Hobbs
Jeffrey Hobbs One
Chris Payne
Chris Payne If they are going to continue to give them to Samsung it doesn't really make a difference. Samsung is complete garbage. None of their devices are reliable past a few months for "power users". They're fine for light users who use it as a phone more than anything. As long as Samsuck keeps getting Nexus device I will, unfortunately, never own a Nexus device. I'm sick of skinned Android but I will NEVER trust Samsung again. Every one of their products I have ever owned (quite a few) have proven to become extremely unreliable past my return window.
Carlos Ernesto Vaquerano
Carlos Ernesto Vaquerano I think it should be multiple, think about it you get to choose several phones with the same pure os and decide which hardware you like better, like choosing between the hardware of the Galaxy III or the HTC one x design with pure vanilla for example. Not saying they're going to do that but what I'm trying to say is that you get a choice of hardware design that you want .
Mitch Gales
Mitch Gales ONE dank ass GOOGLE phone a year, on all carriers, focused, timely, and useful updates. What more could you want? Gives time for more remarkable hardware upgrades to future pocket PCs, I mean phones. Most likely if you're a big time phone guru, you're constantly anticipating that next hot "phone" with the slightest upgrades that's coming out in 2 weeks, I mean really?
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis They can't seem 2 keep up with all the androids out now..
Ken Stow
Ken Stow One
Tailpipe Scoggins
Tailpipe Scoggins I think there should be multiple. Some folks scream for keyboards, and others want smaller phones. Why not make a large screen device, say 4.7", a slide out qwerty device, and a 4" device.
Curtis M. Cook
Curtis M. Cook Well if we're talking phones, tablets & others then I'd say at least 2 phones, 1 tab & 1 with a physical keyboard. And 2 tablets, 1 7in & the other a 10in. Would love 2C something like either the Padfone system or Motorola docking station with ChromeOS integration.
Steven Quintal
Steven Quintal One!
Jorge Lopez
Jorge Lopez Uno
Vincent Del Pizzo
Vincent Del Pizzo The more, the merrier (:
Nic Kolas
Nic Kolas One per year and make sure it is a game. Changer like the nexus one
Stefan Mocian
Stefan Mocian One is good enough, if they release five with the same specifications there won't be a unique Nexus phone. Nuff said (:
Mitzi Blevins Grasso
Mitzi Blevins Grasso Is the phone I buy directly form Google the same as the one TMobile is selling for $499? I can get it cheaper directly form Google if that's the case.
Nadim Uddin
Nadim Uddin If somehow, some way, there could be just one pure Google nexus that Google sold and was able to work on ANY carrier. Google releases the updates and all... Yeah, that's what I want.
Cesario Brito Jr.
Cesario Brito Jr. What a stupid article. The more choices...the better.
Lamar Sarracino
Lamar Sarracino Yearly!!!
Zainal Abidin
Zainal Abidin Remember the Good'old days when we buy a mobile phone & only change once every 2 to 3 years. If NEXUS release attractive models annually . . . bye bye money! lol
Anthony Mendez
Anthony Mendez There should only be one for sure
Janey Tran
Janey Tran I'd say yearly. It gives the producer time to perfect the phone, build up big anticipations that will lead to ;arger profit! I mean look at Apple iPhone and their waiting game. Late but never forgotten.
Andrés Cordero
Andrés Cordero perhaps one low-end and one high-end per year?

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