It’s the end of an era, folks.
Shortly after launching its premium new Pixel phones, Google confirmed to The Verge that there are “no plans” to create another Nexus-branded device. The report was corroborated by the ruthless eradication of the Nexus 5X and 6P (among other devices) from the Google Store, and several tweets by the official Nexus account that said, in effect, so long and thanks for all the fish.
The demise doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Google’s been pushing the Pixel brand across its entire range of hardware, including laptops and tablets. It’s still a bummer, though. Nexus devices were designed to show off the latest and greatest Android features, complete with software updates straight from Google and surprisingly affordable pricing. Nexus devices highlighted the best, purest Android experience possible.
Some of that lingers on in the new Pixel phones. Google’s still promising direct Android updates, and even offers around-the-clock technical assistance for buyers—a far cry from the horrendous customer support associated with Nexus phones. It’s designed around Google’s new Assistant, a.k.a. a more personal, conversational Google built just for you.
But while the Nexus devices were designed to push Android into the spotlight and inspire Google’s hardware partners to do better, the slick Pixel phones feel like an attempt to seize control of the entire user experience in Apple-like fashion, much like Microsoft’s Surface. Google’s Pixel phones are overflowing with premium features, from a top-notch camera to state-of-the-art internal hardware to free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos and videos taken with the device. They even have a fancy new Pixel Launcher that won’t be backported to Nexus phones.
The Nexus line never built additional features on top of Android. Nexus devices never aimed at the mainstream masses. Nexus was more of an ideal, a harbinger. The Nexus inspired. The Pixel competes, not just with Apple’s iPhone but also with the flagship devices from Google’s own hardware partners.
Don’t get me wrong; the Pixel and Pixel XL appear to offer a damn fine blend of hardware and software. They seem pretty compelling on paper. But they’re no Nexus devices.
RIP, Nexus. You’ll be missed.