Since its inception, Google has employed the help of various manufacturers to create a purified Android experience in the form of Nexus. Nexus devices contain little to no modifications from wireless carriers or the manufacturers that help create it, and aside from the manufacturing aspect (along with certain developments) Google is primarily responsible for every Nexus we have seen thus far.
We’ve seen Nexus devices manufactured by HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Huawei in the past. Rumor has already surfaced speculating that HTC might be the frontrunner for one (or two) Nexus devices this year. However, another rumor just popped up that suggests Google may be done employing the help of other manufacturers for the Nexus, and instead may completely take matters into their own hands.
Immediately comparisons are made to Apple, who has always had full control over the iPhone’s design and manufacturing, despite using components made by other companies (such as Samsung). Allegedly this would be a move to help Nexus from being seen as a niche product to something bigger that can directly compete with the iPhone.
While it’s obviously impossible to tell whether these allegations are true or not, it’s easily a believable idea.
The Nexus line has grown in popularity, at least among tech enthusiasts, over the past few years. As Android became a more stable operating system, Nexus also became more flagship-like than ever and also more affordable. I think many of us have personally grown to love what Nexus has become - but it’s still very much a niche device.
It’s easy to understand the potential demand for an Android “equivalent” to the iPhone. As of right now there really isn’t one, and Nexus is probably the closest thing to it.
The Android corner of the smartphone universe features a plethora of popular devices made by several manufacturers. You have Samsung, LG, Motorola, Huawei, Sony, HTC, Xiaomi, and more that are floating around. These manufacturers all create devices running on Android, which is developed by Google. These Android devices also feature various custom UIs, skins, and apps, making each manufacturer's flavor of Android unique. There are a lot of choices, variations, and freedoms associated with Android, and a lot of people like that. But it’s also fragmented in a lot of ways, and to those who aren’t that interested in mobile tech it can be confusing.
Just because some smartphone users aren’t that invested in mobile tech doesn’t mean they’re not equally as important to target, however; they still use their smartphones every day regardless. And to a lot of them the iPhone probably seems like an attractive idea. Not only is Apple a reputable and popular company, but the iPhone is the only choice that Apple offers. One phone (well, two now), one operating system, one company.
But at this point Google is just as reputable and popular, and could probably garner more attention for their own device if they just took as much control as possible. One phone, one operating system, one company.
Alternatively, I do wonder if this rumor was misconstrued. It doesn’t make much sense for Google to revamp Nexus when they already have their Pixel brand up and going for tablets. In my opinion, it would be better for Google to go with Pixel rather than Nexus for a “top-to-bottom” approach to a phone. This way Google can promote their own brand (which already features premium pricing so it’s to be expected, unlike Nexus) while still allowing other Android manufacturers to showcase their designs for Nexus and keeping that program alive.
If the rumor is true, I would definitely be interested in seeing how Google handles doing everything by itself in regards to a phone and how it would compete with Apple’s iPhone. Still, I hope that such changes wouldn’t affect the potential of HTC creating this year’s Nexus as I still think they could use the positive exposure.
Readers, do you think Google should take more control over Nexus? Or should they work on promoting their Pixel brand and leave Nexus as is? Do you think Google could succeed in making a direct iPhone competitor on its own? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!