Google’s head of Android says Nexus now part of history

In the weeks leading up to Google’s big unveiling of the Pixel and Pixel XL, lots of questions started to surface about the future of the Nexus brand. These were partially fueled by rumors of a new Huawei built, Nexus branded tablet and others who thought Google may use the Pixel brand only for their premium devices. However, Hiroshi Lockheimer who heads up the Android team at Google says in an interview with Bloomberg that that are no plans for any new or additional Nexus devices, signaling the brand has been effectively killed off.

In trying to explain where Google is headed with the Pixel and Nexus brands as well as the overall philosophy that Google is working with, Lockheimer indicated there has been a major change in direction. The focus of the Nexus line in the past has been on Android and what that platform could provide. However, Google is shifting to focus more on what Google can do for users, so the hardware and operating system become a tad less important. Thus, the Pixel devices and presumably all other Google hardware moving forward will focus more on Google technologies that are in addition to Android.

Lockheimer also noted that there has been a change in the market, notably since the release of the Nexus 5. That device was a success according to Lockheimer because it hit a key intersection between value and capability. Fast forward to 2016 and there are plenty of manufacturers who can achieve quality hardware at the mid-range price point. Although Lockheimer does not say it, the manufacturers also appear to have figured out that buyers do not want them to stray too far from “pure” Android, so the platform is becoming more consistent as well. These changes eliminate some of what differentiated Nexus devices from the rest of the market. Ultimately, Google decided that “there is no plan right now to do more Nexus devices” according to Lockheimer.

Another key point that Lockheimer brought out in the course of the interview is the impact that the addition of Rick Osterloh has had on Google’s hardware team. With his expertise, Google has been able to separate out hardware to more of a distinct division that is not so intertwined with the Android team. This means the hardware side of the business can work on producing devices that can be differentiated from other market choices because they are no longer limited to the Android platform and nothing else. From a product standpoint, this is why we are seeing things like the Google Assistant technology coming to the Pixel devices but not necessarily to older Nexus devices.

source: Bloomberg

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.

  • Darkcobalt

    This makes sense to me (it is messy to manage so many brands and devices), but I will really miss what Google were trying to do with the Nexus brand. The new Pixel devices at premium prices just doesn’t fit with what I want myself.

    • Justin_Herrick

      If Google is going to compete in hardware with Apple and Samsung, a rebrand was necessary. They’re starting fresh with Pixel to drop any association with Nexus.

      It’s a bold move, but it’s necessary. I’ll have an opinion piece on it very soon. ;-)