Four reasons why Google killed the Nexus program in favour of the Pixel smartphones

“RIP Nexus, welcome Google Pixel”

After launching the Google Pixel smartphones on October 4th, the one thing on everyone’s minds was the fate of the iconic Nexus range of smartphones. Well, Google has confirmed that it won’t be making Nexus smartphones anymore. While others are probably writing elaborate obituaries, we want to explore why Google actually brought the axe down on the Nexus range and introduced the Pixel and Pixel XL instead. Here are four reasons:


1. More control over hardware and software

The Nexus range of smartphones were each made to showcase the latest version of Google’s Android operating system in all its vanilla glory. Brands like Samsung, LG, Huawei, and HTC have all, at one point or another, manufactured a Nexus smartphone for Google. However, Google had very little say in the final smartphone hardware, since this was generally the prerogative of the brand. Google’s hardware ambitions only came to the fore when it made the Chromebook Pixel and the Pixel C tablet.

Now, with the Pixel and Pixel XL, it looks like Google wants to actively promote the ‘Made by Google’ tag, with the phones even sporting a Google logo at the rear. If you are wondering about HTC’s role in the new Pixel phones, the beleaguered smartphone brand will play the same role that Foxconn plays for Apple – assemble the phones on the basis of Google’s blueprints. This ensures that there is a tight integration between hardware and software.


2. To compete with Apple

Quite evidently, the Pixel smartphones are directly competing against the Apple iPhone 7. If you watched the Made by Google event, you would have noticed the subtle jabs that the Mountain View tech giant took against the iPhone. For example, there was a slide on the existence of a 3.5mm jack. Moreover, Google is so serious about taking on Apple that it will actually help you walk through the entire process of switching from an iPhone to a Pixel. The battle is on!


3. Move from mobile-first to AI-first

Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post signalled a strategic shift in focus for the company. He said, “The last 10 years have been about building a world that is mobile-first, turning our phones into remote controls for our lives. But in the next 10 years, we will shift to a world that is AI-first, a world where computing becomes universally available — be it at home, at work, in the car, or on the go — and interacting with all of these surfaces becomes much more natural and intuitive, and above all, more intelligent.”

What this essentially means is that Google’s new voice-enabled machine learning Assistant is at the core of its consumer tech strategy. And, what better platform than its Pixel smartphones to showcase this. 

4. To create an ecosystem of products

Like we mentioned earlier, the Pixel range now includes a laptop, a tablet, and of course the two new smartphones. Moreover, the Google Assistant is also at the heart of the Google Home speaker and Allo instant messaging app. If these products are any indication, Google won’t stop at bundling Assistant with these devices. To elaborate on this Pichai elaborates – “While we are at the beginning of this journey, I can already see the tremendous strides we’re making with machine learning and AI, which gives me confidence that we’re going to do some amazing things for users over the next 10 years.” – indicating that Google is actually creating an entire ecosystem of hardware around its Assistant. 


So while the Nexus line may be dead, the Pixel and Pixel XL are testament to the fact that Google’s smartphone ambitions are far from over. We wish Google all the best with its new journey. 

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