Google, let us pick the next Nexus smartphone

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: February 27, 2014

The last four Nexus smartphones have been manufactured by two companies. The first two were brought to market by Samsung; the latter pair were designed and released by LG. The most obvious constant of all these devices is the Nexus branding, along with the push for a truly stock Android experience on a high-end handset. The other constant were the rumors between those launches, most of which pointed to very different manufacturers releasing a Nexus smartphone.

With each new year comes a new Nexus device. Unlike other yearly refreshes, though, the next Nexus smartphone has a real chance at showcasing its differentiating features from previous generations. The Nexus 5 shares more commonality between its non-Nexus brethren, the G2, than it does with the Nexus 4, even if they're manufactured by the same company.

The Nexus program has grown in popularity over the years, and it's arguably more popular than ever before these days due to Google's (and the manufacturer's, by extension) decision to price their high-end devices so "cheaply," without a contract tied to them. Getting your hands on a Nexus 5, or other currently available Nexus-branded products, is just as easy as going to the Google Play Store on your computer.

Admittedly, I love the feeling of competition that the Nexus program used to supposedly promote. I also hate the feeling that that has essentially been completely forgotten about. I won't pretend to know the details of Google choosing a company to release the next Nexus smartphone (or tablet), but I do wish there was some more variation.

Google going with the same company back-to-back, or maybe even longer, stifles the program, as far as I'm concerned.

A few days ago, it was reported that Google had apparently tapped LG to help them create their smartwatch for release at some point in the future. Now, I know this doesn't necessarily mean that LG is going to be chosen to make the next Nexus smartphone, but I couldn't help but get a little annoyed at even the thought.

Which is strange, because I think the Nexus 5 is a great device and LG did a great job with it. It's a step up from the Nexus 4 in every way it needed to be, and that's how a successor should be. So while I can admit that the Nexus 5 is a great device, I almost wish those rumors that Motorola was building the next Nexus had panned out, or those whispers that HTC had finally been called upon yet again to release the next device to run a truly stock version of Android.

Personally, I believe the Nexus program is at its strongest when we're watching other companies release new hardware, and I wish that's something we could see more of. That doesn't necessarily mean I want to see multiple smartphones released this year (or any year), or even more tablets find their way to digital and physical retail shelves. I'd just like to see some more manufacturer diversity in the family lineup. After all, there are plenty of Android partners out there. Let them have a shot at it.

Here's a crazy idea: What if you let us vote on the next Nexus? I remember a few years ago there was a suggestion that manufacturers created the next Nexus smartphone, based on parameters that Google was looking for, and then the Mountain View-based company chose the best and released that one. That'd be great, but what if the consumers actually got to vote on the next device?

You bring Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, Sony, and whoever else to the table, they design the next Nexus (the Nexus 6?), and then you post all the options online. You get that gladiator-esque experience, and the audience within the coliseum calling the shots in the end.

Many enter, but only one leaves.

I think that would be pretty interesting. Granted, there's always a chance that the same company wins back-to-back, and I guess in that sense you really can't get away from it. But, at least it would change things up, and considering how active the 'net is, especially the Android community, I think it would be a cool way to include them in the process. It would also push manufacturers to create the best phone possible.

What do you think of that idea? Would you vote for your next Nexus smartphone? More to the point, which manufacturer would you like to see used for the next Nexus? Let me know!