Autumn is just around the corner. Crunchy leaves, cooler air, and an absurdly high amount of pumpkin-flavored goodies are eagerly anticipated by many, but for those invested in the mobile industry, perhaps something a little more Nexus-y is what you are craving the most.
Google’s Nexus line is among the most popular with mobile techies, and why wouldn’t it be? The design, marketing, support, and development of the Nexus is managed by Google, it isn’t overcrowded with pointless, non-removable bloatware, and typically Nexus devices are the first – or at least among the first – to receive the latest Android updates. There is a lot to love about Nexus, but not all Nexus devices have been so well-received.
I feel like Nexus reached its peak between the 4th and 5th generation devices. The Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5 were two phones that I would have recommended to people who wanted a good phone on a budget. However, when the Nexus 6 was unveiled last year, I wasn’t as impressed as I had been in previous years. While I still stand by my opinion that I do think the Nexus 6 is a good phone in and of itself, I don’t think it was a good addition to the Nexus line.
To make a long story short, the Nexus 6 overshot two important factors: the price and the size.
It’s true that smartphones have reached a point where bigger seems to be synonymous with better, but I do believe that we have reached a limit with how far people are willing to go when it comes to big screens – at least when it comes to popular opinion. I know there are people out there who are absolutely thrilled with the idea of phones the size of tablets, but for the most part I think the comfort level seems to top off at around the 5.5 – 5.7-inch mark. With the Nexus 6 featuring a 6-inch display, I think a lot of people were turned off by the idea. After all, that’s just one inch shy of the starting 7-inch level for tablets – in fact, Amazon actually has a Kindle Fire tablet that features a 6-inch display. It really does seem like a fine line between “phone” and “tablet”.
And then you have the matter of the price. The Nexus 6 had a starting price of $649, a big jump from the $349 it cost to get the Nexus 5. Being that it was an uncomfortable price and an uncomfortable size for most, the Nexus 6 felt like a total flop.
But that was last year, and it’s almost time to see what happens with the Nexus this year. If recent rumors hold any truth, it would seem that a Nexus 5 remake is on the way. Whether that would be a good idea or not remains a mystery of course, but it feels like just about anything would be better than the Nexus 6 as long as it features a lower price and a more modest size. I truly believe those were the two major things holding it back.
I think we had been spoiled by the Nexus 4 and 5, and we want to keep it that way. There are enough flagships on the market to satisfy expensive taste, but the Nexus was one of those rare gems that had good performance for a good price. It was a perfectly good upper mid-range device, and I feel like that’s what makes for a good Nexus. It’s not the best, and it’s not the cheapest; it just seemed like a good phone for a good value. The Nexus 6 just plain overshot that expectation.
It will be interesting to see if Google will either roll back to what Nexus used to be, keep moving forward with the more expensive Nexus, or perhaps do what many other smartphones already do – release two versions to cater to fans of both. Personally, I’m rooting for the rumored Nexus 5 remake. Give it better battery life, a camera upgrade, and modern specs and you have yourself a winner.