Google’s Stock Android Smartphones: Will Multiple Manufacturers Dilute The Nexus Brand

The Google Nexus brand was created to rest all the troubles typical developers would face. Giving them devices that were supreme in terms of specifications and could stand head to head with competing smartphones. Such a device would be very helpful to the developers where they could really play and experiment with their code. The developers would always get the latest updates to keep up with latest features and employ them in their apps and games. From humble beginnings, the Nexus brand, in its fourth iteration is already making a name of their own for being quite competitive but at a considerably cheaper price. But now Google has started spreading its wings and focusing on creating similar “stock Android experience” devices with other manufacturers. Google officially launched the S4 with Stock Android at Google I/O while HTC brought out the HTC One with Google and Sony is soon expected to release the Xperia Z with stock Android. But will this harm Nexus? Or will Nexus as a brand endure?

Nexus Brand
Google Nexus has grown into a strong brand among smartphones. Starting from the humble Nexus One, Google has worked at developing better devices with compelling specifications to keep both the developer and smartphone enthusiast community interested.  As Android developed as a sturdier and more popular OS, so has the Nexus brand. The sales of the Nexus 4 phones reached 1 million a couple of months ago without any dollar spent into marketing and advertising, which shows its importance. The Nexus 4 brought to the table an affordable smartphone with a high end hardware; one both consumers and developers would love. It is no doubt that Nexus is the only true Google flagship in the Android world.

Google’s New Devices
The rumours of Google’s plan to tie up with multiple manufacturers have been well and alive since early 2012, when Wall Street Journal published an article stating that Google plans to launch its then latest OS Jelly bean with multiple Nexus devices by each popular manufacturer. While JellyBean is already on its third iteration, Google has only launched one Nexus device since then, the Nexus 4 in collaboration with LG. However, we now know that those rumours had some truth in it after all. Google officially launched the whopping $699 Samsung S4 with stock Android in the Google I/O early June and HTC is also coming out with the HTC One with stock Android. So far however, both devices haven’t seen much of day light. 

Stock Android Devices: The Strategy
The Strategy behind these pseudo nexuses seems simple as far as Google is concerned. Broaden the Stock Android experience across multiple design and hardware philosophies and let consumers decide which works better. While Samsung has always striven to beat everyone on sheer specs, HTC and Sony have cheerfully different approaches to their design philosophy. HTC believes in hardware innovation while Sony believes strictly on durability and design simplicity. Google clearly intends to give the users and developers the choice of choosing “their Nexus”.  In addition to this seemingly altruistic vision, Google also has some clever Business motives.  For one, Nexus devices would no longer be brought down by subsequent hardware launches by top manufacturers. The typical Nexus device is fairly high spec, however always falls short of the next best thing. Google now can claim superiority to iPhone and iOS not by de-facto manufacturer innovation but its own numbers. High end Nexus devices that run stock android and compete head to head with iOS without the manufacturer UI bells and whistles.  In addition, Google’s developers will work even more closely with the manufacturers learning perhaps the tricks of the trade and in return provide manufacturers even greater faith. Face it, Google needs allies if it wants to shave some of the strong command Samsung holds over the Android market.

Fate Of The Nexus Brand
On one hand, technically, Android is growing leap-fold with its multiple manufacturer/device strategy. More devices with the classic Android look and even better specs means more users will see what the OS is truly capable of. However, for half a decade, the Nexus brand had been synonymous with the Stock Android experience. To tear that away and give power to manufacturer brands might seem like a big mistake. For one, Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android isn’t called Samsung Galaxy Nexus S4 (face it, they've had longer names) or HTC One with stock android hasn't so far been rumored as HTC One Nexus 4 (the first Nexus device was called HTC Nexus One). Clearly, the Nexus brand is gaining nothing from these 2 high powered devices. In fact, the Nexus brand may just be losing out in a battle of Samsung Galaxy S4 Vs HTC One Vs Xperia Z bigwigs but that may not be a harmful thing to Google.

About The Author:
This article has written by Dharam Raj. He writes for Also he interests to write about smartphones technology trends and applications.

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