Will the next Nexus devices be affordable, or is Google going upscale again?
The multiple rumors that predicted the death of the Nexus turned out wrong, for now at least. Over the past couple of months, solid reports emerged about a Nexus tablet from HTC and a phablet aptly codenamed Shamu potentially coming from Motorola. Assuming they are real, how will these Nexus devices change the game? Will they be value-packed, affordable devices like their predecessors? Or is Google going to get back to higher pricing? Either way, what will these new devices bring to the table?
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Based on the latest HTC Nexus 8 rumors and the talk about a fingerprint scanner for Shamu, I can’t help but feel that the next batch of Nexus devices are aiming for the very upper tier of the market, and could well come with more premium price tags attached as a result.
Nexus devices have always had good hardware at a great price, but fingerprint scanners, metal cases, and unwieldy display sizes have usually been left to the other Android vendors. Nexus devices offer a solid experience, but they have never been flash, so to speak.
Given that Android Silver might now never see the light of day, perhaps these handsets aim to partly achieve what Android Silver was expected to do – offer up premium Android hardware, combined with Google’s vision for software, all under a unified name tag.
I’m not sure where this leaves consumers, as the Nexus brand is typically targeted at a more developer centric audience and availability is questionable at times. But given the uproar that followed the rumoured end of the Nexus line, perhaps Google feels that this is the best way to keep everyone happy.
Either way, I’m eager to see what actually turns up with the next batch of Nexus devices. I have a suspicion that Google is keen to show Android off in its best light come the official launch of Android L.
Well originally, the Nexus device was supposed to be the go-to “developer device”. However, since the Nexus 4, Google seems to have changed to focus to making the Nexus device the go-to Google device.
What do I expect? Pretty much what Triggs said above. I expect Google to continue to try to go after the upper crust of the Android phone elite (Samsung, HTC, LG) by creating a phone with up-to-date features just like they do. Unlike Triggs, I believe that the phone will remain at least somewhat competitively priced since that is the Nexus credo. I believe people will be pretty upset if the next Nexus phone carried a $700 price tag. Especially if they aren’t available on carriers so people can’t get them at a discount.
Overall here is what I expect from the Nexus device. I believe it’ll have the most up to date CPU (or close), 2-3GB of RAM (probably 2), a 1080p, 5-inch screen (maybe slightly larger). Like most Nexus devices, I expect the battery to be par or less and the camera to be shaky.
There is the chance that Google may go all out and build a $700 device and sell it for less (after all, they make their money on ads and Google Play Store earnings, not hardware sales) and there may be a chance that they go the Moto X, Moto G route and build a budget device that works surprisingly well.
Who knows eh?
Commoditization. Pfew, that’s a long word. But it describes well what’s happening, or is beginning to happen, in the smartphone industry. Simply put, as smartphones are getting cheaper, more OEMs are jumping in the fray, and in turn, that leads to lower prices. That’s great for consumers – to an extent, but terrible news for companies like Samsung, LG, or HTC, which rely on shrinking profits margins to stay afloat.
With the Nexus 4, 7, and 10, Google contributed to the commoditization trend, because it supported its goal to put more high-quality Android experiences in the hands of more people.
But there are many devices out there that fit that role, from the Moto G to the OnePlus One, and more. And then, there’s Android One, which will help with the same objective at the low end of the scale.
Judging from what we know so far about the new Nexus devices and the reasoning above, I think that the new devices will definitely be more high-end than the last batch. That way, Google can give HTC and Motorola a helping hand in terms of profits, as well as support Samsung, who’s been suffering in the past year.