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Report: Google to Stop Selling Nexus Phones in 2015

By - Source: Edlar Murtazin | B 26 comments

No more Nexus after next year?

Google's Nexus brand has come a long way since the introduction of the Nexus One way back in January of 2010. Five phones, three tablets, and an ill-fated media streaming player later, it seems the Nexus name may soon reach the end of the line. According to the latest rumors, the Nexus 5 could be one of the last Nexus-branded phones we see from Mountain View.

Word comes from Eldar Murtazin, who tweeted early this morning that the Nexus line would wrap up in 2015. In its place will be the Play Edition phones that several smartphone makers had launched in the last year.

Every year we're treated to a new Nexus phone running the latest version of stock Android. As expected, 2013 gave us the Nexus 5. However, it also gave us a handful of other popular smartphones running stock Android. Each of these devices carried the 'Google Play Edition' branding alongside the regular manufacturer and model name. These handsets included the HTC One Google Play Edition, the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, the Moto G Google Play Edition, and the Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition. 

The move would eliminate Google's need to commit to working with a single manufacturer for each Nexus device. Though Mountain View isn't deadly loyal to one specific manufacturer (the Nexus smartphones have been made by HTC, Samsung, LG over the years), it does limit itself somewhat by only offering one phone each year. Not only that, but it leaves little choice for the consumer. Moving away from Nexus and towards Google Play Editions of already popular smartphones isn't a bad idea in that regard. Where it will matter is price. Over the last couple of years, Google's Nexus line of tablets and smartphones have been priced incredibly competitively, and users have been drawn to stock Android at an affordable price. What will happen if manufacturers are pricing the devices?

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  • 5 Hide
    JD88 , January 27, 2014 2:21 PM
    Interesting. What also is not mentioned here is Motorola. Perhaps Google feels like They can achieve a sort of Android reference standard with Motorola phones as they have with the Moto X. Is this limited to phones or Nexus tablets as well?
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , January 27, 2014 2:52 PM
    Bugger. Back to insanely overpriced phones or 75-year contracts.
  • 4 Hide
    RooD , January 27, 2014 2:52 PM
    So android will be stuck with shit updates. I buy nexus for the newest android version and the instant updates they receive. I don't know if they update the play editions upon release of new versions but I sure hope so.
  • 3 Hide
    Solandri , January 27, 2014 2:53 PM
    The Nexus 6 model will escape from its owner, pose as a human, integrate into human society, and track down and kill its creators. So obviously the Nexus branding will be worthless after 6.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , January 27, 2014 3:15 PM
    Contradicting what I'm about to say, I actually prefer LG's android UI a lot, and I'm not a huge fan of vanilla android's UI (namely the menu/settings interface). However, you can always install a 3rd party launcher that gets you a decent UI alternative without having to deal with a modified OS kernel, or bulky bloatware that sucks resources, and a million different versions of current Android to push to devices (each manufacturer has their own). I think the Nexus line of devices was a long-term play Google wanted to get started in order to establish consistency in OS to try to hammer down some significant user-experience criticisms with Android devices. Google has shown device manufacturers that their brand-specific additions to Android are not only unnecessary, but not really preferred by consumers, and are a headache for 3rd party developers to deal with and work around. However, just because 'Play' versions of android phones are going to be more prevalent, I hope consumers don't assume that means the prices of the 'Play' versions are going to be as cheap as Nexus phones have been. I think the "Nexus Project" was only to garner support for vanilla devices--done through cheap phones being sold at-cost. Now that manufacturers have started to make Play versions, the Nexus line--and the google-subsidized prices--are probably going to go Kablooey.
  • 6 Hide
    vmem , January 27, 2014 3:17 PM
    "What will happen if manufacturers are pricing the devices?"Wonton price gouging returns...
  • 5 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 27, 2014 3:32 PM
    I sure hope this means there will be affordable Play Edition phones in the future, because right now they aren't really an alternative to the Nexus phones in terms of pricing.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , January 27, 2014 4:48 PM
    Quote:
    I sure hope this means there will be affordable Play Edition phones in the future, because right now they aren't really an alternative to the Nexus phones in terms of pricing.
    I think it means the exact opposite. Now that Google has gotten the public used to (and seeking) 'nexus' devices that get rapid OS updates, and device manufacturers are going to be selling the Play-edition handsets, it means that starting 2015, manufacturers won't have cheap at-cost Nexus devices to compete with (in pricing). Future Play devices are probably going to be just as expensive as current manufacturer-specific devices.
  • 1 Hide
    sykozis , January 27, 2014 5:41 PM
    Unless Motorola continues to release reasonably priced phones, it'll be back to Windows Phone for me....
  • -1 Hide
    thundervore , January 27, 2014 5:51 PM
    This is actually a good move. I know some people who likes specific brands names but want stock android phones. Like myself, I hope the play edition comes directly from the manufacturer and not a shitty carrier and software updates come directly from Google just like the Nexus phones.
  • 1 Hide
    kenyee , January 27, 2014 6:54 PM
    Would be great if Play Edition phones weren't so much more expensive than the Nexus phones :-P
  • 1 Hide
    TriBeard , January 27, 2014 7:12 PM
    I doubt it. Play edition phones are not serving the same niche. They are full retail price, and updates are not as quick. I also don't see why google would have gone further than ever as far as differentiating it and adding new features (new launcher, etc) that are exclusive to the nexus devices, and in this case the nexus 5 if they were gonna stop the line cold turkey.
  • 0 Hide
    tobalaz , January 27, 2014 7:16 PM
    So does his make the Moto-X the new Nexus?I've got the LG Optimus G, and prefer stock Android over the LG UI.I was a bit scared at first to getting a phone without a Micro SD card, but ever since my Optimus (and getting used to push files over ADB) I'd happily take a Nexus.
  • 1 Hide
    ferooxidan , January 27, 2014 8:10 PM
    If this is true then I'd hate it very very much! I love my nexus because of the instant updates from Google. All those bullshit "Google Play Edition" is still overpriced compared to Nexus and updates are slow as hell. Moreover, Google Play Edition smartphones sometimes is not worldwide available. There is no SGS4 GPE, HTC One GPE, Xperia Z Ultra GPE, etc. in my country to this day. Even Motorola has vanished from my place, the last time I remembered is RAZZR series, after Google bought the company they just vanished from here not selling their phones here. I really want Nexus series continues.
  • 1 Hide
    Bloob , January 27, 2014 11:19 PM
    I believe this may very well happen. Google now has basically a same kind of monopoly on mobile as MS does on desktops, there is no more need for them to sell phones at or below cost, not that they've ever had that much stock.
  • -1 Hide
    house70 , January 28, 2014 4:18 AM
    Quote:
    So android will be stuck with shit updates. I buy nexus for the newest android version and the instant updates they receive. I don't know if they update the play editions upon release of new versions but I sure hope so.


    I have SGS4 GPE and HTC One GPE. Both have received 4.4.2 at most a couple weeks after the Nexus line.
  • 0 Hide
    thehritzinator , January 28, 2014 6:01 AM
    Take this with a grain of salt. This is one report. The nexus line is doing better than ever. Would it make sense to cut out a top-selling product? NO.
  • 0 Hide
    burkhartmj , January 28, 2014 6:35 AM
    I find this hard to believe. It seems Google just hit their stride with their Nexus devices, I don't see that changing any time soon. On top of that, one of the huge points of Nexus was to get a high-end phone at a reasonable cost. The Google Play edition devices currently offered are twice as expensive as a Nexus 5 with the same or worse hardware, so Google would lose the primary draw behind their Nexus devices.

    The only way I see this happening is if Motorola devices become spiritual successors to the nexus line, but that'd still require a price drop as the Moto X came out with lower specs at $500+. Doing that would also go against what Google said about not favoring Motorola, one of the benefits of the Nexus line is giving a way for other manufacturers to work closely with Google, giving all of that revenue to Motorola by ending the Nexus line would piss a LOT of people off [the exact same way Microsoft's Surfaces did].

    If this does happen, I'll probably end up changing ecosystems. From my experience at least, Android phones are too locked down by the manufacturers for my tastes. Considering I hate all of their interfaces [like TouchWiz and Magazines, and Sense] I need at least stock and ideally the ability to flash customs. This is dead simple on Nexus devices, and made a stellar experience by the incredibly vibrant development for these phones specifically because they are AOSP and not locked down at all.
  • 0 Hide
    burkhartmj , January 28, 2014 6:45 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    So android will be stuck with shit updates. I buy nexus for the newest android version and the instant updates they receive. I don't know if they update the play editions upon release of new versions but I sure hope so.


    I have SGS4 GPE and HTC One GPE. Both have received 4.4.2 at most a couple weeks after the Nexus line.


    They're also both double the price of the Nexus 5. if you're looking for a good phone in the 300-400 range, then neither of those are acceptable. Without Nexus you either get a lower end phone or give up on getting an off contract phone.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , January 28, 2014 7:02 AM
    Quote:
    I doubt it. Play edition phones are not serving the same niche. They are full retail price, and updates are not as quick. I also don't see why google would have gone further than ever as far as differentiating it and adding new features (new launcher, etc) that are exclusive to the nexus devices, and in this case the nexus 5 if they were gonna stop the line cold turkey.

    Because one of the biggest criticisms of Android, and a significant reservation a lot of consumers have, is that the OS update process is broken when Google starts leaving it up to the hardware manufacturer, and then the cell service provider to actually push updates. Moreover, such a complicated process--where there is no real motivation by hardware mfg's and carriers to spend time and money on updates--leaves users subject to possible security flaws that would typically be updated. Sprint and LG are excellent examples of this--they hardly push updates to any devices save for the Samsung Galaxy devices.

    Quote:
    If this is true then I'd hate it very very much! I love my nexus because of the instant updates from Google. All those bullshit "Google Play Edition" is still overpriced compared to Nexus and updates are slow as hell. Moreover, Google Play Edition smartphones sometimes is not worldwide available. There is no SGS4 GPE, HTC One GPE, Xperia Z Ultra GPE, etc. in my country to this day. Even Motorola has vanished from my place, the last time I remembered is RAZZR series, after Google bought the company they just vanished from here not selling their phones here. I really want Nexus series continues.

    Play edition phones would theoretically get updates in the same way that current nexus devices do. I haven't heard about Play Edition devices getting updates any slower than current nexus devices.

    Quote:
    Take this with a grain of salt. This is one report. The nexus line is doing better than ever. Would it make sense to cut out a top-selling product? NO.

    Because the top-selling nexus products are being sold at-cost (i.e., no profit), and other hardware manufacturers are not interested in selling vanilla android handsets at typical retail prices (i.e., with profit) if they have to compete with a google-subsidized device. That, and it's my guess that google only started the nexus project to gain support and desire for vanilla android, to show manufacturers and carriers that consumers don't actually like or benefit from the bloat they usually stack on top of the Android OS (which complicates updates, and sometimes leaves customers/handsets vulnerable to some things).

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