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The time has come to innovate Nexus devices

Every year, Google launches a new Nexus lineup featuring its pure Android aesthetic. In other words, they are devices without any modifications from manufacturers or telecom companies. Almost all models of the series are great devices: robust and stable. But have you noticed that none of them bring much innovation?

Let's get some things clear: as I said above, most of the Nexus line has been comprised of smartphones since the first one, released in 2010. I even had a Nexus S, which stayed with me for four years and I can say that was the best Android I ever had.

However, analyzing all models launched, I noticed that none of them brought any kind of significant innovation. All included balanced hardware and software with beautiful design, plus the advantage of being the first to receive Android updates. But the Nexus series has been stuck in a kind of comfort zone that, at least until now, it refuses to leave.

RM
Rui Maciel
Nexus phones should show the public what future Android innovations will be
What do you think?
653 participants
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Other manufacturers strive

Meanwhile, Android smartphone manufacturers have been pushing ahead. LG and Lenovo, which launched the LG G5 and Moto Z, respectively, both brought forward the modular accessory concept where peripherals can be purchased to enhance or add device functionality of the camera, battery, speaker and even a projector.

AndroidPIT lg g5 friends 0428
LG G5: the first modular smartphone to reach the public. / © ANDROIDPIT

Incidentally, speaking of Lenovo, the company also presented the Phab 2 Pro, the first device equipped with augmented reality technology, adapted from Google's Project Tango. And we can not forget Samsung with its Galaxy S6 and S7 Edge, with the innovation of the curved screen, or Huawei P9 with dual cameras developed in partnership with legendary German brand Leica.

lenovo phab 2 pro Looking At Solar System
Phab 2 Pro: Lenovo launched a phablet with augmented reality technology. / © Lenovo

Anyway, you can see that manufacturers have worked to bring innovations to their flagship devices. Maybe not at the speed we want, but it still happens. And how long since Google innovated its Nexus line? What is a really striking series feature released in recent years?

In fact, even the "pure" Android that comes with Nexus devices is not that compelling so as to makes us think, "here Google, take my money!" Of course the advantage of having OS updates first is important, but we'd like to see unique and useful features in the series that would make up the rest of the potential advantages.

Lead by example

It has often been said that Google wants to have full control in the development of hardware and software for the Nexus line, similar to what Apple does with its iPhone. However, year in and year out, whenever we need to search for new information about the next Nexus, we see that Big G aims to develop the device with different manufacturers.

Google has come to show signs that it can do something interesting. A good example is Project Ara, a prototype smartphone that would take the modular concept to the nth degree, allowing users to choose and change processor, camera module, amount of RAM, speakers and device battery.

project ara 01 hero
Project Ara: a modular Google smartphone recently lost several possibilities for customization. / © Google

However, it was recently announced that the functionality of the Ara phone would be limited. With that, it will have more fixed base components (CPU, memory, antenna, GPU, battery and screen), thus decreasing the amount of removable modules. That is, the device has lost part of the grace of its customization.

The truth is that the Nexus line should be the one to show what the Android universe should be for the next few years, whether in hardware or software. And who knows, Google might simply be content to develop good smartphones only for this series.

Whereas the company's revenue depends very little on the sale of Nexus devices, it's still kind of frustrating to see that Google could wait even longer to innovate with this series.

Do you think that innovation is lacking within the Nexus line?

6 comments

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  • At last, a very EXCELLENT post AndroidPIT.
    Why are all of you make lots of controversial things. And some of your "very subjective post" isn't labeled as Opinion?
    I used to love AndroidPIT so much last year.
    But since 2016, everything changed here.
    Thinking the way few people think and posting something that enrages our nerves isn't a good thing at all.

  • I would love to see a Nexus with all the features of the Note 4, at a decent price I would even accept a little lower spec then the current Note...

  • I agree that Google should demonstrate the ability of the "pure" Android experience to bring innovation to smartphones, but I think it abandoned that possibility when it sold Motorola. By depending upon other manufacturers - each of whom sell their own branded devices - to build Nexus phones, Google has accepted its current status. Frankly, given the competition in non-carrier sold phones and the niche nature of such devices, I'm not sure if undertaking such an endeavor is a sound business decision - if Google aggressively marketed its own brand it could alienate the manufacturers upon which it depends for growth of its software-based revenue.

  • I'd love to see the Project Fi embedded in the next Nexus phones... As well as all the best features from the different Android manufacturers, like: the sound of the ZTE Axon 7, Honor 8's screen-to-body ratio for portability, Huawei's dual cameras, Elephone's big fat batteries, Samsung's SAMOLED screen quality, a function button for fast launch of apps, double tap to wake à la LG, etc.
    But please, no modules! These things will be discontinued in a heartbeat, because the smartphone is a Swiss knife, not an Ikea furniture.

  • wm snyder 3 months ago Link to comment

    This is where Google tells the manufacturer what they want and if they want to contract

  • Rideau 3 months ago Link to comment

    Manufacters don't want to create innovative products for another company. So I think Nexuses will be innovative... when Google will make its own Nexus.

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