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Report: Google to Stop Selling Nexus Phones in 2015

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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  • JD88
    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?
    Reply
  • killerclick
    Bugger. Back to insanely overpriced phones or 75-year contracts.
    Reply
  • RooD
    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.
    Reply
  • Solandri
    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.
    Reply
  • teh_chem
    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.
    Reply
  • vmem
    "What will happen if manufacturers are pricing the devices?"Wonton price gouging returns...
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
    Reply
  • teh_chem
    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.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    Unless Motorola continues to release reasonably priced phones, it'll be back to Windows Phone for me....
    Reply
  • thundervore
    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.
    Reply