The (allegedly surprising) release of the Nexus 6 earlier this year managed to turn quite a bit of heads. The Nexus 6, a phone that might not even have existed as far as we knew, was a big step up from the Nexus 5 in more ways than one. The phone was now entering phablet territory with a large 6-inch display, but now that the phone also essentially did carry flagship specs across the board, the price tag of $649 full-price easily reflected these specs as well.
The Nexus 6 is a pretty nice device, and I’ve said more than once that I feel that the pricing is fair. I think the biggest problem Google faces when it comes to the Nexus 6 is what the Nexus line has come to “represent” over the past couple of years, which was a “cheap” full-price, decent Android device that anybody could easily get their hands on. The Nexus 6 is not a cheap device by any means; this phone is an actual flagship smartphone.
The Nexus 5, however, is still a decent alternative to those who aren’t interested in either the size or the price of the Nexus 6. The phone just recently came back into stock in the Google Play Store, but not without the rumors swirling that Google has plans to discontinue the Nexus 5 in the very near future. This can be seen as both a good and a not so good thing.
On the plus side, a discontinuation of the phone is probably what would spark one of those awesome “fire sales” where you can purchase the last of the stock for a really cheap price before you’ll have to look elsewhere for it on the market - that’s what happened with the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4, which was $299 and $349 at first, suddenly dropped $100 in price for both models once the Nexus 5 was about to hit the market. The anticipation this year was that the Nexus 5 would get the same type of price cut at one point, but no such discount ever happened - probably because the Nexus 5 was still a considerably good deal compared to the Nexus 6.
But now that Google knows that the Nexus 6 has been fairly well-received, perhaps they feel it’s time to retire the Nexus 5. I think that Google should keep the Nexus 5 selling at least until the release of the next Nexus. The reason? Because it’s still a good phone being sold for a decent price, and in all likelihood would reach more people than the Nexus 6 would.
It wouldn’t be too abnormal either, to sell last generation’s phone alongside the newest generation. Apple’s been doing it for ages. I don’t see anything wrong with keeping the options open. Not everybody wants a phone with a 6-inch display; not everybody needs flagship specs; not everybody wants to pay $649 full-price for a phone. The Nexus 5 still has a very viable market out there right now, as the phone ranges somewhere between “super cheap Moto G” and “super pricey flagship phone”. Perfect middle ground, still decent specs, still a good price for what you’re getting.
Obviously, Google will be just fine no matter what - they’re Google. But I think that people could benefit from the Nexus 5 staying on the market at least until next year’s Nexus (assuming there is a Nexus next year) is released - just so people can get their toes wet with the idea that the Nexus 6 could possibly be the “new” direction of the Nexus line, but still have the comfort of the cheaper Nexus devices of yesteryear.