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Motorola on the Nexus 6: "[Google] wanted the screen size"

Motorola's Chief Marketing Officer reveals it was Google that wanted the Nexus 6 to have such a sizable screen.

Published onFebruary 25, 2016

Google Motorola Nexus 6 Hands on Android 5.0 Lollipop -23

Making a phablet can be a bit of a gamble: the prime screen real estate is lavishly luxurious, however not every consumer wants to go for a so-called “miniature” tablet. Heck, by Apple’s own calculations, approximately 60% of its customers are still using 4-inch iPhone devices even now. In Android land, size has always been king with game changers like the original Galaxy Note paving the way for the venerable plethora of phablet products that now populate the planet. There is, however, one famous phablet that was arguably not as well received as its maker would have hoped.

When Google announced the Nexus 6 in the fall of 2014, it turned heads. Build under the codename “Shamu” the device was seemingly as large as its namesake would imply. Not a 5.5-inch phone like the LG G3, and not even a 5.7-inch one like the Galaxy Note 4, the Motorola Nexus 6 was, essentially, a full six inches. This put it in a very rare category of devices, primarily consisting of the Samsung Galaxy Grand and the Xperia Z Ultra.

Moto X Pure Edition Vs Nexus 6-14
Ironically in 2015, Motorola would make the “X” even bigger than before, though still not as Shamu-sized as the Nexus 6.

The reaction was indeed what one might expect: phablet fans were quite excited, and those who wanted a formal follow-up to 2013’s more pocket-friendly LG Nexus 5 were inevitably left with a sour taste in their mouth. Google itself seemingly could sense the scrutiny of its sensibilities, and following the launch quickly proceeded to tell customers how they don’t know they want a big phone, but if they tried it they might actually like it.

Today there is some new insight from Motorola, the manufacturer, that sheds some new light on the product. In a statement to techradar, Adrienne Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer at Motorola had the following to say:

You learn as you go. It was right about this time period that we were jumping screen sizes so quickly. I think it was one of those where we were like ‘is it [screen size] going to continue to go up?’ I think unfortunately, that was one of the products that was going to be the example of no, it’s not. So now we know.

Perhaps the more critical detail however, is which party made the judgement call with respect to the display. Hint: The company’s name begins with a “G”:

They [Google] wanted the screen size – we could have built it with same display size as the Moto X.

Indeed the design of the Nexus 6 was highly reminiscent of the Moto X Pure Edition (2014) so much so that, in China, it actually was released as a Moto X variant: the Moto X Pro.

With respect to the rest of the design, Hayes said that:

“For the most part they have some influence, but they really let the manufacturing partner drive the industrial design.”

On a final note, the Chief Marketing Officer also addressed the issue of if Motorola would one day return to the Nexus manufacturing table:

I don’t know whether we’ll do another Nexus device, but we would be happy to. It was a good experience.
Google HTCNexus 9 Android 5 Lollipop-21
For some, the 4:3 aspect ratio of the HTCNexus 9 (seen here) was a perfect “ruined” compliment for the larger-than-expected Nexus 6.

At this point it’s far too early to make any solid guesses who will wear the mantle of manufacturer this year, however in the past few weeks two tid-bits of leaked information has made its way around the internet: (1) HTC may be manufacturing one (or both) Nexus devices that will allegedly come out this year, and (2) LG will not be producing a follow-up to last year’s Nexus 5X.

While not on the rumor table, there is always the potential for Samsung to come back into the fold, having made the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus, and the Nexus 10 tablet some years ago. Given the premium body and performance of the Galaxy S7, it would potentially make a good framework for a new Nexus.

Wrap Up

Moto Metal
This leak purports to show the new approach Motorola is said to be bringing to its 2016 flagship.

While many found the Nexus 6 to be a wonderful device, Google’s decision to release it’s follow-up, the HUAWEI Nexus 6P, with a somewhat smaller display might offer a silent “confirmation” of Adrienne Hayes’ first quote in this piece. Indeed it would have been quite interesting to see what kind of product the Nexus 6 could have been had things turned out differently. Perhaps it would have been the same size as the Moto X, and by now it’s somewhat well known that there could have been a fingerprint sensor built in.

The question ultimately boils down to what the individual consumer felt about the product. To this end, we would like to invite readers to answer the survey question below and share your opinion in the comments section!


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