The Death of the Nexus

People have long claimed that Google would kill off the Nexus line. Well… they were right. They have. I’ll only say this once.

The Nexus is dead.

Yep. Dead. Did I stutter?

Did you miss the whole thing where Google announced the Nexus 6 and 9 today?

I did not. Make no mistake. These devices are Nexus devices in name only. The ideology behind the Nexus program, meanwhile, is dead. That is, to provide a pure Google experience on flagship-level hardware, all at an affordable price. What I can’t deny is that the Nexus 6 is, like its predecessors, still the best Android phone of its generation. However, it is priced at a point I am not willing to pay. Google, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Nobody’s going to pay $650 for a Nexus 6. People have no desire to pay flagship prices for a flagship phone at this point. Society as a whole has moved past it, largely thanks to you. It’s too late to go back on that. As a matter of fact, you’re pulling a Microsoft. What you’re doing is going back on your aggressive pricing to placate OEM’s. Understandably, OEM’s were pissed about Google launching devices they couldn’t compete with on price. However, Google shouldn’t care. You shouldn’t care. The goal of any company should be to deliver products that the customer wants. If their competition can’t deliver a product in its league, at its price point, why slow down? I don’t care if OEM’s are happy, and Google shouldn’t either.

Google (and Microsoft): OEM’s are not your “partners.” They are not your friends. They are your competition. Don’t worry about cannibalizing their business. Worry about pleasing your customers. OEM’s need you more than you need them. The Nexus program stood for something: Delivering a quality device at a price the average consumer could afford without becoming slave to a carrier contract. I’ve said no to contracts starting a couple of years ago, and I haven’t looked back. The only problem is, I don’t know where to go from here. I have no idea what my next device will be. I left iOS a couple of years ago, and I stand by my reasoning. It’s too locked down. And Windows Phone is not and probably never will be a viable alternative to iOS or Android, as it still lacks a sizable app ecosystem.

Back to my previous point, Google has no reason to placate OEM’s. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and the company that best satisfies the needs of consumers should win. And what consumers need is an open device that one should not need to whore themselves out to a carrier to afford. Nothing aside from the Nexus program offered this. OEM’s didn’t like competition they couldn’t beat, but that isn’t Google’s problem. As put so elegantly by Taylor Swift, “And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Did I just use a Taylor Swift song to make a point about tech? Yes. Yes I did.

But Google needs its partners!

WRONG! Neither Google nor Microsoft need their “partners.” By the way, these “partners” are nothing more than people who tarnish their reputation by bolting bloatware onto Android and Windows. Look at Apple. Apple makes a lot of money. In fact, Apple is the most valuable company in the world. They don’t need “partners.” The only people Apple needs on their side to be successful? Developers. And developers also happen to love Nexus devices. Cheap, but the most powerful hardware on the market. Google and Microsoft, I implore you: I have quite a few problems with Apple (mostly with iOS; I do happen to be a proud rMBP owner who, in fact, typed this on my rMBP), but learn a lesson from them. Don’t be afraid to piss off the OEM’s. Deliver the most competitive first-party hardware you can, at prices the competition can’t afford to beat. Either they learn to catch up, or they die. I mean, what would they do? Switch to Windows Phone? Firefox OS? Let’s get real here. Google has OEM’s by the balls and has no need to please them. The only real alternative to Android is iOS, and that isn’t available for licensing. If the OEM’s die, they won’t be missed.

Ultimately, I blame Motorola for this. Motorola is notorious for making overpriced hardware at noncompetitive prices. See last year’s Moto X: Priced far beyond the Nexus 5, a vastly more capable phone. Partnering with Motorola to produce the Nexus 6 is outright stupid. Motorola’s ideals (turn a huge profit at any cost) are simply antagonistic to those of the Nexus program.

TL;DR: Google, wipe Samsung off the map. You can do it, but pricing your phone the same as theirs isn’t how to do it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be here putting up with my antiquated Nexus 5. Oh, by the way, Google, it’s absolutely insulting that you’re still selling it at the same price like it’s a modern phone. Even Apple is less greedy than that. They drop the price of their obsolete models when they announce a new one.

Ah well. This generation isn’t important, I guess. Next year is where it’s at. 64-bit Android phones are the next big advance. I’d may as well wait for it (I think I’m just in the “denial” stage of grief). That said, someone new will need to make a phone in the Nexus spirit, or I don’t know what my next phone will be.

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