When the Nexus 6 was first released, I made a post urging people to remember that although the Nexus 5 was technically a generation behind, it still had a lot to offer even in comparison to the Nexus 6. Now that it's been about a half year since the 6’s release, we know that demand for the larger and more expensive Nexus hasn't been terribly wonderful. Part of that may have been due to lack of initial availability, but I think that the even bigger issue was with the actual phone itself.
At this point, Google has to figure out what will make the next Nexus bounce back into the people’s good graces. Off of the top of my head, I can think of two ways that they can do that.
I honestly think that the Nexus 6 was far too big (which, if you've read my articles before, you're probably no stranger to my whining about big phones so this probably comes as no surprise). But really. Even in this era of phablets, a 6-inch screen is not something you want to throw out there without something a little more average alongside it. Samsung's Galaxy S has a mini, HTC's One has a mini, Sony Xperia Z has a mini (or compact, whatever), even the Apple iPhone comes in two different sizes now. The reality of smartphones today is that you now have two crowds to cater to: people who like big phones and people who like smaller phones. Google and Motorola went past big with the Nexus 6 and shot for bigger (then again, what did we expect from a phone with the code name “Shamu”?) without any alternative, and I feel that by jumping a whole inch in screen size they actually missed their target mark.
Because of this, I think it would be a good idea for the next Nexus to scale back down to a more appropriate size in general. I'm not talking about the sub 5-inch “handlet” size I tend to prefer; I mean something around the 5 to 5.5-inch area. Flagship phones this size seem to sell well.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, there is the deal with the price. I don't think Nexus devices should be sold for peanuts. I think they're typically good, solid devices. However, I think the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5 spoiled us in terms of what to expect with price. Both of these phones were sold for less than $400 from the get go, unlocked, good specs, and hardly any bloatware. The cameras weren't the best, the battery life wasn't anything to write home about, but overall the phones were a great deal for the price. Then you have the Nexus 6, which starts at $649. Holy price raise, Batman! Where did that one come from?
I mean, the Nexus 6 is a great phone and all, but one of the reasons Nexus was becoming so popular in the first place was because people were starting to expect Google to release a good product for a comparably affordable price. It's true that you can find affordable Android phones anywhere so it really shouldn't be that big of a deal, but the Nexus 6 seemed oddly uncharacteristic of where Google seemed to be heading with Nexus. Another $50-$100 increment would have been understandable, perhaps working on a gradual build-up each year. But I think that the $250 price jump deterred a lot of people from giving it too much thought.
The Nexus 5 was praised for being “the flagship phone without the flagship price”. The Nexus 6 is known for being, well… really big and really expensive. This year, I think that Google might be better off scaling back on the big price and the bigger size – at least for Nexus. I don't see people "getting used" to this change and suddenly getting on board with it anytime soon.