When Google unveiled the Pixel line, they managed to wow the tech world with the Pixel phone’s superb features and capabilities. In fact, the phone was quickly ranked among the top phones in the market. Almost everybody wanted to get their hands on it especially due to its state of the art camera. However, the Pixel’s launch also left a myriad of potent questions unanswered like what happened to Nexus? This question wasn’t left unanswered for a long time though. No sooner had Google released the Pixel, than they said they had abandoned the Nexus line. The question then became why? Why did they ditch Nexus which targeted developers mainly for Pixel which is packaged for the premium market?
The first reason was right under your nose and you didn’t even notice it. The name Nexus means the coming together of two things. In Google’s case it is teaming up with another electronic company to create a suave phone. Instances of this include when it collaborated with Samsung, LG, Moto and Huawei to create the Nexus One and Galaxy Nexus; Nexus 4, 5 and 5x; Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P respectively. These collaborations saw Google stick to the software aspect of the device while its partners to the hardware. However with the unveiling of Pixel, which was 100% developed by Google, ditching the name felt right.
As Google developed a stronger inclination towards AI, it sought a platform where it could explore its ideas unshielded. In a world which Google viewed as shifting from mobile first to AI first, they didn’t want to lag behind. This is very evident in the Pixel whose biggest selling point thus far apart from the superb camera has been its voice enable machine learning assistant, Google Assistant. Not only is the Pixel line in line with it long term strategy as a company but it is also provides a great platform to showcase their actual conceptualisation of the assistant.
The sidelines stopped being enough. Google wanted to have more control of their devices other than the software alone. They desired devices which had Google front and center so Nexus couldn’t cut it. This desire may have been further propagated by their successful development of the Pixel C tablets and Chromebooks. Additionally, to enable them to better share the Android experience, they need to be in on both the hardware and the software hence Pixel. With the Pixel they get that much desired opportunity. Even though they receive a tiny bit of help from HTC, the Pixel remains a fully Google device.
To rebrand as a premium device
Nexus was positioned as a mid-range phone for the mid-range market but Google had its eye on the premium market. Achieving its goal with the Nexus brand wasn’t feasible so they rebranded. With Pixel they could introduce the very best specifications into the market without any qualms on the price tag. Simply put they could innovate unbarred. This is abundantly clear in the superior capabilities included in the Pixel. These features such as its state of the art cameras, couldn’t be priced for a mid-range market.
To consolidate its devices
The Nexus line felt like a stand-alone when showcase with the Chromebook and Pixel C tablet. Not only did they lack a visible Google endorsement but it felt worlds apart name-wise. Google’s tablet for instance Pixel C derived its name from the Chromebook Pixel while its laptop from their browser. Nexus therefore being a solo project felt far-removed. Pixel on the other hand bears a visible Google logo and its name sounds in line with the rest.