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Why Google shoudn’t nix the Nexus

Why Google shoudn’t nix the Nexus

The curtain could be about to be drawn on the Nexus line-up of Android devices.

In its place, Google is rumoured to be readying a program called Android Silver.

Instead of contracting third-parties to make Nexus devices (LG for the Nexus 5, Asus for the Nexus 7), Google would simply run pure Android on existing high-end devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8).

The reason? This would allow Google to go hell for leather to promote these devices in shops, affording them greater visibility and – so the theory goes – higher sales.

So far, Google’s Nexus devices have only been sold through Google Play and a few other outlets.

Android Silver would bring them to the high street, getting them in front of the average punter whose only frame of reference is an iPhone.

Google Nexus 5 leaked image

For me, that’s always been part of the appeal of Nexus; the fact it’s not on every high street.

And hence, not everyone has one. It sets you apart from the crowd.

Owning one shows you know what you’re doing, but doesn’t label you as much of a phone geek as, say, owning something that runs CyanogenMod.

But it’s not just about being part of the cognoscenti. Price is also a major consideration.

Nexus devices have always been amazing value for money. Six months after it launched, the Nexus 5 is still one of the best buys around.

The same was true of the Nexus 4, and the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets.

google nexus 7 joe

Next to them, the current crop of flagships – Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), Sony Xperia Z2 – all look overpriced.

Sure, Android Silver would retain some of the best selling points of Nexus devices.

Any Silver device would run stock Android, be the first to get the latest update to the OS, and have minimal bloatware.

If you think this sounds familiar, you’d be right.

Several handsets – including the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 – launched in Google Play Editions that ran pure Android, and they were a big hit.

At least, they were where they were sold (they never made it to the UK).

htc one google

So it seems Google has dipped its toe in the water, and liked how it felt.

These Google Play Editions weren’t any cheaper than their bloatware-infested stablemates.

It’s hard to see how Google could convince manufacturers to slash the price for their Android Silver Editions.

Another couple of features are said to be jewels in the crown of Android Silver.

There’s one similar to Find my iPhone, and one that sounds just like Amazon’s Mayday service, which gives you free video calls to a customer service rep to resolve any problems you have with your device.

The fact these are so similar to existing services shows Google’s lack of innovation. Which is a shame, as Google has a rich history of innovating.

In the brief spell it was owned by Google, Motorola made some of its best ever devices.

motorola moto x generic

The Moto X’s voice activation set it apart from other handsets, and, in this reviewer’s opinion, its notifications feature should be standard on all Android handsets.

The Moto G was also a stunning budget buy, the only real rival to the Nexus 5 in terms of value for money.

It’s been said that in trying to market its products harder, Google is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book.

I think it would be better off focussing on doing what it does best, and making cracking handsets that don’t cost the earth.

Because no amount of marketing can compete with value for money.

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