Is Google working on a sub-$100 Nexus smartphone?

by: Jonathan FeistApril 19, 2014

nexus devices line

The rumor mill is piping up this afternoon with word of a possible sub-$100 Nexus device. There are no specifications to speak of just yet, but unnamed sources and rampant speculation lead to the idea of a low-mid range phone with a MediaTek chipset, 1GB of RAM and 2G/3G connectivity.

The rumored Nexus device is not expected to be Google’s next flagship smartphone, that has been reserved for what is dubbed the Nexus 6 which is speculated to be built by LG. It is not in Google’s typical naming scheme, but this new sub-$100 phone is starting to feel like what other manufacturers call a ‘mini’ version – Nexus 6 Mini, perhaps? As for the pricing, we’re already seeing Lenovo launch their A-series tablets for a little over $100 equipped with MediaTek chipsets, speaking to how the chipmaker could have Qualcomm and others worried.

Is it inexpensive, or just cheap?

This is a valid concern for Android device shoppers. We have seen more than a few cheap Android tablets creep onto the market in the last couple years. However, some prominent device makers have also created exceptional equipment at affordable pricing. Take the Moto G for example, the Moto G is a sub-$200 phone that was released this past December. It is a solid device that also packs 1GB of RAM and does not have a 4G radio, we’ve taken the Moto G for a full review, read all about it here, and checkout the video below.

Looking a little higher end than the Moto G, set to be officially announced in the next week, the OnePlus One is looking to possibly hit the market as the most powerful smartphone to date. The young company lives by the motto “never settle,” and is expected to have their ‘flagship killer’ smartphone launch for as little as half the price of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Google themselves have already shaken the 7-inch range tablet market, launching the Nexus 7 tablet back in 2012, with a redux in 2013. Built by ASUS, the Nexus 7 still feels very much like a premium device, but it too sells in the $200 price range.

We’ll compare the Moto G with pricier phones, because its price tag casts a new light on all of its features. - Joshua Vergara, Android Authority

motorola moto g (3)These devices have set in motion a trend and a realization for smartphone manufacturers, there is a huge global market for quality, yet affordable equipment. Motorola is rumored to be bringing a new low-cost smartphone to Mexico – called the Moto E, the rumor has it as a very similar unit to the Moto G, capitalizing on a phone model that has already been a top seller for the company.

Is there a market for a sub-$100 Nexus device?

A sub-$100 Nexus device is an intriguing prospect. On the one hand, we hold the idea that Nexus devices are for those that are in the know when it comes to Android – specifically built for developers to have access to all of the OS features and hardware sensors that Google has put into their pure Android. On the other hand, Nexus devices have proven to be excellent phones at an affordable price. The Nexus 5 has been a favorite for many, starting at $350, it has been the best answer for many new-to-Android users that ask “what phone should I get?” Check out our review of the Nexus 5 to see why.

The success of a sub-$100 Nexus device may come down to two main factors. First, who is Google building this device for? If the phone is built as an extremely affordable developers test phone, normal consumers may be put off by a lack of features, such as external SD card support. Second, in one word, marketing. The Nexus 5 may be made to capture the moments that matter, but I have never met it in any ads outside of Google’s own websites, or seen people dancing with it to Michael Jackson. Whether Google’s purpose is to make a number one selling phone or not, a sub-$100 phone removes the barrier to entry to the Android ecosystem, which may prove crucial to gaining new users, especially in emerging markets around the globe.

We look forward to learning more about this sub-$100 Nexus device. Until then, what are your thoughts on a Nexus branded sub-$100 phone – will Google make a knockout product for an amazing price, or just a decent entry level unit that anyone can afford?

  • Jesus

    Hey… I just wanted to say that I hate Joshua Vaigara’s face and voice on the Android Authority videos.

    1. His face… I just want to punch it.
    2. His opening lines, and his “Hello everyone (bow) this is Joshua Vaigara of AA (salut)” is annoying as hell. He’s lameeeee!!!! Someone else do them!

    • MadCowOnAStick

      well that’s kinda rude.

    • Shark Bait

      douch bag, take you wining elsewhere !

    • [S]unjay Burn[s] Red

      You butthurt?

      • TheScienceEnthusiast1130


        • Woe, Is [S]unjay


    • turboguy

      Well,I think he is one of the great reviewer out there and would be happy to tell you that you are a just a greasy haired slimeball how thinks he is the coolest person on earth.It would do everyone a favor if you just hurled yourselves down the empire state building

    • PoisonApple31

      Instead of insulting him, you can just admit you are gay for him.

    • Dalvik

      If you have advice, there’s no need to insult, just tell him in a good way, or show us that you can do better.

    • Goblin Shark

      I bet he could take you, dude is a ninja!

    • Mali

      You mad bro!? Jealous? Because he probably gets to keep one of each phone he reviews.. And to be frank.. He’s probably one of the best out there.. He goes pretty deep into the design.. Build.. Look.. I love the dudes work. .. So you should probably shut up.. And quit trolling.. Because you just sound stupid right now

    • supremekizzle

      Lmao. I actually pick out his reviews on YouTube over everyone else. Especially MKBHDick. Hate that tool… Josh you rock!

      • David Bowline

        What’s with the trolls? Two of the best out there getting slammed. Grow up.

      • Woe, Is [S]unjay

        What’s wrong with MKBHD? I think he’s good.

      • Sox05

        MKBHD is one of the best YouTube tech reviewers. You’re an idiot just like Jesus.

    • Jayfeather787

      Nice description of yourself. I guess your name is Joshua Vaigara. The awesome guy that makes the best youtube videos about android is JOSHUA VERGARA. Learn how to spell before commenting, troll.

    • Mr. Mark


    • Sal

      If you think he’s that bad why don’t you make a review video and post it on YouTube. Let’s see if you can do better.

  • Shark Bait

    I wouldn’t buy it, but i totally see the market for it. Im sure they could pull it off and it still be decent. The moto G is brilliant, im sure they could shave some costs without loosing too much.

  • Dalvik

    Nexus below $100 would be great, but I doubt Google can make it worldwide.
    If any, I believe it will be LG or Samsung making sub-$100 Google Play edition phones.

  • number29

    There’s always a market for cheap crap. This already makes up the vast bulk of the Android market so I don’t see the idea of a really cheap Nexus making any significant difference to this.

  • Rukahana

    I can see the name of my country ^.^ :p

  • MasterMuffin

    Not happening. Why? Google would never choose MediaTek :)

    • Jayfeather787

      We hope.

    • Jonathan Feist

      I know I am about to open myself up to a big can of ‘that’s not the same thing,’ but AMD spent a long time as the supposed inferior product to Intel processors. They were less expensive, which kind of kept them alive, but I have an AMD chip in this very laptop that has served me very well. Can we compare MediaTek to AMD, is that fair?

      • MasterMuffin

        That’s not the same thing ;P MediaTek is violating GPL and probably many other things

      • Jayfeather787

        AMD is too awesome to be compared to Mediatek.
        Fellow AMD user right here. AMD FTW!!!

    • L.

      Google teamed up with MediaTek to develop Android One :)

      • MasterMuffin

        Miracles happen. MT did promise they’ll change

  • John Kiser

    I think the Ara devices will be introduced at the 50 – 100 dollar price point I don’t see them diminishing the nexus line in favor of something lower end than last years…

  • bob

    Race to the bottom! The usual google mo, build cheap plastic crap then sell it at a loss and share its usage information with advertisers. You just gotta love google

    • View From The Top

      With more smartphone sales in the developing world, it’s Apple and MS that are racing down to the bottom. Once the feature phone users in Asia, Africa, South America start using smart phones at $50 levels, they’ll pick Droid over anything else. And that will take Apple’s market share down to single digits (from 15% currently) and WP is a non-starter to begin with.

      So much to your chagrin, Android will not race to the bottom, but gain in market share over the next few years. In a decade’s time, it will become what Windows has been to the desktop PC all these years – the end all and be all of home computing.

      • bob

        in other words, google and oems operate at a loss while apple and samsung take all the profits. great for competition.

        but google doesnt care, you are not their costumer, advertising firms are. and they are certainly not racing to the bottom in that market ;)

  • Groud Frank

    MediaTek? Okay.. Anyway, it doesn’t matter since it will probably not be available to most of the world like the rest of the Nexus line.

  • David Bowline

    This could be a huge breakthrough if this phone is somehow tired into project loon. My guess is that it will be a decent phone sold internationally to open new markets. The better the quality, the better the business for Google. Win win.

  • Juan A C

    It actually makes a lot of sense. The Nexus line is supposed to be the “role model” of Android devices. Releasing a ok-performant $100 phone might actually set the bar a bit higher than it is now for the low-end (yes, I’m talking about Samsung’s piece of sh*t low-ends,
    S5360, S5300 and all those)

    • SSDROiD

      Oh look, someone hating on Samsung! Because we don’t see that hatred 50 thousand bazillion times a day in the Android community..!

      • Juan A C

        That’s because you probably live in a first world country. Here, the vast majority of Androids are shitty little Samsungs that can’t even have more than 4 apps installed at a time (180MB of internal storage, really?)(also, LG L3 and a couple Alcatels). People are left out of the modern technologies, the web most of all, because browsing in their devices is a damn nightmare.
        Nexus stepping in would be a breath of fresh air in the low-end market.

        • SSDROiD

          I thought you lived in a first world country as well, so I’d like to say sorry for my earlier comment. Your hatred for Samsung is obviously due to your local restriction of phones and not brand generic hatred. 180MB of storage, is that really true? Oh man, I’m so, so sorry. You already have problems over there, I don’t want to be another one. Please forgive me for the earlier comment, which was intended for those who do have brand generic and live in a first world country. Again, sorry, and hopefully Nexus does come to you!

          • Jonathan Feist

            Here in the US, I have a 1 year old phone kicking around that was a $120 device, it too has about 170MB internal storage. I needed a cheap phone for a project, but it turned out to be a useless phone. If Google can put out a Nexus device in the $100 range that doesn’t suck, that’s just a win.

          • Jesse Afolabi

            yes derp..coming from a third world country here,,,its really true and that fucked up!!!!

  • Nooooo!

    Not mediatek!
    They do not comply with GPL.

  • naomicas

    It’s time for Google nexus 6 to be release and I can’t think that Google Nexus 6 will come in between 100 to 200 USD..

  • hitesh jaina

    I want to know about thenexus 6 release date as rumors suggest that it is going to have same features as LG G3.

  • Juli Hermawan

    I want its
    We look forward to learning more about this sub-$100 Nexus device. Until then, what are your thoughts on a Nexus branded sub-$100 phone – will Google make a knockout product for an amazing price

  • mattdm

    I want a Nexus that is compact, but without compromising specs! I’d pay the same $350 gladly, because I want a handheld phone, not a mini tablet.

  • yes Google is making $100 smartphone in form of Google Nexus 6 as mention here with stunning features which makes it most awaited smartphone.

  • championsyedm

    Nexus 5 Specs All-new picture and video options assist you capture moments in contemporary new ways in which.