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Google’s New Nexus Line Up: The Good, The Bad, And The Aftermath

Eric McBride
8

 

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you probably already know that Google welcomed the LG Nexus 4, Samsung Nexus 10, and a “bigger” (storage) Nexus 7 to the world yesterday. The devices (in my opinion anyway) look amazing, the hardware is top notch, and the pricing already has many drooling. As much as I like these devices (and will most likely end up buying at least one of them), there are a few things I’m not crazy about, and I’m already wondering what type of effect this complete new Nexus lineup will have on consumers, Apple and Microsoft. So will the new Google Nexus lineup be a hit ? How will it affect the industry? As much as I love Android, I will do my best to realistically look at what I believe will happen.

First, lets start with some of the good. There’s a lot of it here folks.

Pricing and hardware

My jaw quite literally dropped when I saw that the 8GB version of the LG Nexus 4 will sell for $299. While I don’t plan on picking up the phone just yet (love my Note 2 too much), I have never in my life seen such a beautiful premium device with such TOP notch hardware and technology being sold for such an insanely low price. The price of this phone breaks all the rules. In terms of hardware, every solitary thing about it blows the socks off the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 (minus LTE capability and the GS3 microSD slot), yet it’s literally being sold for damn near HALF the price (more actually). You will NOT find a better phone on earth for a better price right now. Period.

This could cause consumers who are normally drawn to iPhones to seriously have a good 2nd look at Android, and could accomplish this even better than the insanely popular Galaxy S3 due to the Nexus 4’s incredibly low price tag and in many ways superior pricetag. My prediction is that this phone will be an eye catcher in terms of design to your “average Joe” consumer, and to the tech enthusiast as well. It’s the best of both worlds being sold at a stupidly low price. What more could anyone want?

You won't find a better smartphone on the planet at this price point

So what about the Nexus 10? Spec wise, it will make many look twice at their laptops. $399 for a 16GB tablet that blows the newest iPad out of the water? Thank you Google/Samsung. The best tablet on the market right now is a toss up between 3 devices (in my opinion): The Asus Transformer Infinity Pad, the Galaxy Note 10.1, and the new iPad. The Nexus 10 just switched all that up.

Not only does it’s hardware poopoo on all 3 of those devices, its price tag does as well. Sure, the Infinity’s connection options and keyboard dock make it very appealing, but the Nexus 10’s price tag/hardware combination in my eyes make it THE most impressive tablet on the planet. Find me a higher resolution, 2GB RAM, and a Exynos 5 chipset in any tablet for $399...don’t worry..I’ll wait.

Sound’s perfect right? Not so fast! Let’s talk a bit about the bad.

Connectivity and storage options

I honestly can’t say too much of anything bad the Nexus 4 phone. It really is that impressive. If I had to say something bad, it would be that LG made it, as they don’t have the best track record lately for coming up with out of the park Android phones (I LOVE my LG TV's though :-D). That being said, keep in mind that this is a Nexus device, meaning that Google, not LG, will be raining down updates on this sucker. LG is a tier 1 company that is more than capable of making great hardware, and they have done a HELL of a job with the Nexus 4. There is however one thing that I can say is upsetting, and I’m sure this will be a dealbreaker for many: No LTE.

LTE is starting to enter “the norm” realm, and I can imagine many people with LTE enabled phones not being willing to give up that type of speed. I personally don’t care so much about LTE right now, but I could imagine that if I had been using LTE the past months, and if I had just purchased an LTE plan, that I would be pretty damn upset about it. I can only assume that Google didn’t want carriers to influence their new baby, as carriers are often responsible for late (or none at all) updates. That being said, look how long the iPhone had no LTE. Did that stop consumers from buying it? Nope. Will it be a deal breaker for most consumers with the Nexus 4? I seriously doubt it. 

I could also bitch and complain about how Nexus devices don’t include expandable memory, but I won’t. On second thought, I will. Why Google? I’m sorry, but this is an Apple move/trend that I really don’t like. While I dealt with it on my Galaxy Nexus, having expandable memory in my Note 2 is a blessing, as that wonderful internal memory hack I wrote about allows me to install all the big games I want! I mean why have that amazing hardware if you don’t want to play top tier games and view high resolution media (or store your entire music collection)? What’s the point?

On the Nexus 10 front, Google could have went even harder and released the Nexus 10 32GB version at $449. I mean, the 16GB Nexus 7 is now $199, and the 32GB version is now $249. Why not use a simliar storage pricing structure with the Nexus 10 (50 bucks more for 16GB more)? Remember, as amazing as this device is, you’re still selling it at damn near (same for 32GB version) iPad prices. Pretty bold move Google. You NAILED pricing on the phone, but could have came a little harder on the tablet (especially considering how few Android tablets are being currently moved in big numbers). That being said, I’m pretty much already sold on the Nexus 10, and it certainly isn't overly priced. It just could have been a tad cheaper to reel would be tablet buyers in even harder. 

A truly unrivaled tablet that unfortunately still has a long road ahead of it

The aftermath, the marketing strategy, and the problems for OEMs

So how will Team Nexus go with consumers? Will they embrace Google's new goodies? That depends on quite a few factors. Nexus devices have never been big hitters in terms of sales, and I really think that's largely due to the fact that they are marketed nowhere near as much/hard as devices like the Galaxy S3, Note 2, or iPhone/iPad. This presents the next problem: Why should OEM’s market them as hard as their flagships? Look at it this way...

The LG Nexus 4 is basically the cousin of the Optimus G. The Optimus G costs more, and carries LG’s skin, which identifies them as a brand. So where is the motivation to market the LG Nexus 4 more, or as much even, as the Optimus G? By marketing a Nexus device, you are pretty much marketing Google, not your own company. But you naturally want to sell devices, so what do you do? It’s a complicated one for OEMs isn’t it? Imagine if a Samsung Nexus device with the same specs as the GS3 (but half the price tag) dropped tomorrow. Which do you think they would market more? Which would consumers want more? I would take the same spec'd Nexus for half the cost over the GS3 anyday. Would you?

If I were Google, I would not depend on OEMs to market these devices. Not this time. If Google wants a chance to sway consumers even more, they need to take control of the marketing for Nexus devices, and push them HARD on Google Play, the web, AND on TV (we know you can do it Google..we all saw the awesome Super Bowl commercial). A successful LG Nexus phone for LG is in a way dangerous for LG as a company (even if it would sell well), as it costs way less, gets updates quicker, and in most cases looks better than the Optimus G. For Google though, it can only bring good things (OEMs could also worry that consumers would simply flock to Google with successful Nexus devices, especially considering the newly aquired Motorola). That being said, I don't believe that OEMs should fear Nexus products, as I can't honestly ever imagine Google abandoning its partners.

Google's deadliest weapons could be just as deadly for OEM's as they could for competitors

The same applies to the Nexus 10. If the Nexus 10 will be $399 across the board, you can better believe Samsung has considered that it could be a much more appealing device for consumers than the Note 10.1, especially for non US citizens that already have to deal with the jacked up prices of tablets in the EU and Asia. Keep the prices of tablets similar across the board, or you’re gonna have a problem, as I doubt OEMs will want to undercut their own products in favor of Google's. 

Conclusion

Apple does indeed need to watch the hell out, but only if Google is serious about finally properly marketing the Nexus brand directly to consumers. Google also needs to do way more to encourage developers to take Android tablets and optimized apps for them seriously, because if the Nexus 10 gets properly marketed and still fails, it could really wave a “game over” flag for Android tablets. Remember, Microsoft is also set to unleash a very impressive and capable lineup of Windows 8 tablets and phones, and with Apple having a firm grip on the tablet market (and still the most popular phone in the world), Google will need to bring their A game if they want the Nexus brand to break barriers.

The good news is that the Big G now has all the weapons in their arsenal( and a Motorola wildcard up their sleeve) to take Android to new heights, and I firmly believe that Google will not play around with their new superdevices. 

So be happy my Android brethren..cause there’s literally never been a better time to be an Android fan!

Picture credits: betanews.com

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Comments

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  • Jack Strauss Oct 31, 2012 Link

    The 8GB Nexus 4 is not $250. It's $300. Not that it matters. No one in their right mind would buy a 8GB Nexus phone with no SD Card. It's great for marketing. But that's it. That being said, $350 for an unlocked out of contract 16GB Nexus 4 is still an excellent price. But the lack of the SD card really hurts and it's ticking me off that Google is thrusting their ridiculous cloud only strategy down our throats.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 31, 2012 Link

    Sorry for the mistake. I corrected the price. I agree with you though. I guess people who just wanted a phone for emails and surfing could be interested, but all that amazing hardware really goes to waste with just 8gb.

    I'm also pretty damn upset that Google is pursuing this course.

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  • Mark R. Oct 31, 2012 Link

    I'm a light user and 8GB would suit me.

    When I travel I always have a tablet and an mp3 player so if leaving an SD slot out also helps keep price point low then this works for me.

    I think time will tell, but fair play to Google for dialling in some more options and giving us wider choice.

    The non SD path may also be a nod to Google's hardware partners...leaves them some market share...?!

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  • Mark R. Oct 31, 2012 Link

    I should add that I don't need LTE...also my next phone was going to be an S3...but the N4 is exactly what I need at the right price...

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  • Glostermeteor Oct 31, 2012 Link

    For me expandable storage is the reason why I went for Android over iOS in the first place. I might be willing to pay for the Nexus 7 with no expandable storage but I would not pay for a larger tablet without a way of expanding it. I have a very capable Asus Transformer which I can connect all sorts of storage devices to including USB hard drives, micro and full sized SD cards, its great.

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  • Patrick R. Oct 31, 2012 Link

    @Eric, sorry for the unrelated comment. I'm in Seoul for a couple of days and it's driving me nuts. My GF says it's like seeing E.T. when he finally got home. Now my Note is kinda like the in thing here. Even the cab drivers and waiters rocks a Note or Note 2. Grabbin my self one as I figure out if it'll work in the PHL or if they have some wierd uberspec'd korea release only version. Lol

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  • Randy Walsh Oct 31, 2012 Link

    I just bought my Unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus 3 months ago. And I do not see enough in the Nexus 4 to upgrade at this time. I will wait and see what the new year brings. Hopefuly another Nexus with 32GB's of storage.

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